Sunday, July 13 - Bye, Bye Placerville, Hello smokiness.
It's important to start the first day out of town with a big breakfast, thus we all enjoyed the generous portions at Apple Cafe before the Bolhorsts got us back to the trail just before noon.
Ann desired very much to walk about 10 yards of the trail once we got back to Echo Lake, so Roy and Erin were coerced into hiking the PCT as well. She wanted to be able to say she had "hiked the PCT."
As some of you may remember, we hiked from Echo Lake to Donner Pass last August as our trial run, so this stretch was familiar and a great benchmark in the progress we've made as hikers. After 1,100 miles, it is safe to say we have improved greatly. What once took us five agonizing days and four chilly nights can now be completed in 72 hours. And we took two-hour lunch breaks and finished early two out of the three nights. It's a good thing I chose this as our trial hike instead of one of the earlier Sierra sections, because it really was pretty easy after everything else we've done - so if the terrain had been harder last summer, we might not be doing this at all!
The end of Sunday saw us taking the wrong trail at a junction and having to camp in a mosquito lair before we reunited with the PCT a half-hour into the next morning.