Day 115: 8/1/14, PCT Milemarker 2227.4

Miles hiked: 20.8
Cumulative miles: 1269.8
Camped at: Mosquito Creek (an unfortunate but accurate name)

Happy August! And Happy Retirement Day to my wonderful father!! Dad, welcome to living the dream :). Love you lots and we’ll celebrate when I get home.

A lady picking huckleberries this afternoon compared me to Cheryl Strayed (the Wild book and now movie for those not in the know). Hmm. Well, I am hiking solo, but forget the horrible angst and bad back-packing skills though I’m certainly no ultralighter. I did get some huckleberries from the lady! It’s been….interesting…the past few days when I’ve been asked where I’m headed. I can still say “Canada”, but I don’t want to give folks the impression I’m nearly done with my thru hike instead of not even half way. So, I’ve been going into this long winded explanation which I need to pare down ASAP, if only for my own sanity having to repeat it so many times.

This morning I woke up right before 5am, and had to convince myself I really needed to pee (I did, but I was cozy) and get up for the day, I probably could have slept another hour or so. However, by far the best and well liked time of day for me is early morning, so up and away I went, assuming (rightly) it would soon be hot and sticky. Lots of neat forest walking and lakes today, the best one being Blue Lake – just lovely! I soaked my feet for a while which felt divine. If it had been later than 10am, I would have been tempted to not only go for a swim but stay there, it reminded me so much of the awesome lakes in Maine, though a little less remote feeling (being within several miles of a well traveled forest service road, I know from personal experience since I camped next to it last night!). Bummer that it didn’t work out with my mileage to camp at Blue Lake, but I’m glad I went on and am going into town tomorrow, I stink.

Flies and mosquitos, oh my! The flies actually drove me from my first lunch spot, and seriously annoyed me at the second as well even after my third application of Deet for the day. I’ve gotten quite a few bug bites since hiking out on Tuesday, and donned the headnet again this morning. With the humidity here in WA, the Deet just comes right off as I sweat constantly. I don’t know whether to be concerned or thankful that the Deet actually lasted 10 hrs back in much drier California.

A few patches of old dirty snow off the trail above 5000 feet today reminded me I may run into some! Apparently the snow was really bad for the southbounders who started at the beginning of July. Fingers crossed it’s melting quickly.

I saw and briefly chatted with 6 southbounders today, who all look decently seasoned but still too clean – some still need to get the thru hiker “patina” going ;). It’s funny, I’ve had other NOBOs be unsure if I’m a thru hiker or not, they look at my gear (dirty) and then at me (not nearly as emaciated and exhausted as they), and then they ask. However, the SOBOs automatically assume I am! No one passed me, so no other northbound sightings today. Maybe in town! I’m hoping I can somehow mail on my bounce box without the PO being open (doubtful but I live in hope) otherwise will need to do a zero on Sunday and wait for the PO on Monday morning. That’s what I get for getting into town a day earlier than I planned! Today, 20 miles before 5pm made me scratch my head – really?? I know I’m taking slightly less time at breaks (I can only talk to myself for so long) but it isn’t that much less – I’ve always valued my time off my feet during the day. My pace is just quicker now – lower elevation and nice terrain is my best guess! I’ll have to reassess if I think I should keep the food plan of 17 mile days, as I feel like I’m carrying a lot of extra food right now, not just one more day’s worth.

Right now, I’m impatiently waiting until 6pm to eat dinner (if I eat too early I’m inevitably hungry in the middle of the night) and I’m hiding out in my tent to escape the flies and mosquitos, darn buggers. I’m *really* hoping it doesn’t rain as I think it’s threatening – it’s either thunder in the distance or a busy road. It’s hot so I left the fly off the tent and I’d hate to break “sanctuary” to put it on. Gotta take the good with the bad when you live outdoors!

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