Day 116: 8/2/14, PCT Milemarker 2244.2

Miles hiked: 16.9
Cumulative miles: 1286.7
Camped at: random mountain meadow filled with lavender, with a stunning view of Mt Adams not 4 miles distant; who could pass this place up??

I’m cackling in my tent, mocking the efforts of countless mosquitos trying in vain to reach me. I told myself sternly that I won’t need to pee until well after midnight. The bloodsuckers got enough from me as I rushed to make and eat dinner, and then treat water for tomorrow morning. The sad thing is that I’m dry camping – I humped that water up at least 1000 feet since killer swarming flies attacked me at the awesome spring (which used a bucket to collect the water!) where I would have loved to take a break and normally would have treated it there. Grrrr. I have a feeling the insects are winning today, but cackle away I am ;). More concerning are the 2 deer not 10 feet from my tent, staring at me (I have a feeling I may be encroaching on their normal grazing area) and circling around and around. Sorry guys, I’ll be gone in less than 12 hours, I promise.

Long distance hiking requires flexibility, as every section hiker and thru hiker learns probably in their first week out in the backcountry. This morning, I woke up nervous about hitching my myself for the first time in ages, but fully expected to be in town tonight, freshly showered and stuffed with several town meals, waiting for my laundry to get done. Continuing the support for never going into town on a summer weekend if it can be avoided, my ride (thanks again 3 guys in the white truck!) dropped me off at the diner in Trout Lake at about 11:15am, where there was literally a parade, complete with fire trucks hosing down the crowd, not 15 feet away. Looking around at all the tourists and locals, my immediate thought was “Rats, I’m not getting a room tonight.” Figuring it would work out, I promptly entered the diner as my hiker stomach was certainly still dictating the priorities. I immediately met Nurse Betty, who finished her PCT hike yesterday – congrats again! She got caught in the snow last year, and has been finishing up the miles she missed in Washington. Needless to say, she immediately validated my flip-flop. She gave me the rest of her HUUUUGE pancake (where else but the trail would you ask a complete stranger if they’d like to finish your food?!) which was probably equivalent to 3 normal size pancakes, yum. I also ordered a chicken salad, French fries, and a root beer float to further tame tummy. Nurse Betty told me about the local she stayed with last night as indeed all rentable beds are booked this weekend. I met James who invited me to also camp at his ranch if I decided to stay in town, before he gave Nurse Betty a ride back to his place – on the back of his motorcycle! I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a hiker, complete with backpack and poles, hop on a motorcycle. When hitching, all the motorcyclists usually wave cheerily and I wave back, but I don’t think I’m going to start asking one for a ride – I’ve never ridden one before and I can’t imagine balancing my pack as well! Anywho…..The locals in Trout Lake are soooo nice! I also heard of many other folks taking hikers in last night.

I headed over to the Country Store to pick up my bounce box/food and box from home with my dinners, new shoes, and potential gear I asked Mum to send me (I so do NOT need my heavier rain gear right now!). Bev at the store incredibly kindly offered to take my bounce box to the PO on Monday for me so I wouldn’t need to stay in town until then. Thanks again Bev!! I ran into PandA, the nice British couple I was leapfrogging with the other day. They too were headed back to the trail and already had a ride lined up, which they said would be there at 1:30 and I could probably get a ride too as they had a minivan. Great! I hurriedly sorted through my food and bounce box, hoping I wasn’t forgetting anything vital, and chatting with cyclists and sundry folks interested in our journeys. James and Dottie (?) arrived and happily invited me along. What trail magic I received today! And, Whew, what a whirlwind town trip – I was off the trail for 3 1/2 hours (including hitching and the drives) and got much accomplished. Unfortunately that didn’t include a shower or laundry, but I’ll be at White Pass in a few days. Funnily enough, I didn’t even use the restroom in town, which really grosses me out that I didn’t wash my hands at all. Hygiene is going down the tubes again, I guess.

With all the resupply excitement, I still managed to hike nearly 17 miles today, 10 of which were this morning, including almost 4000 feet of elevation gain. In particular, the climb out of the road crossing was rather exhausting in the heat of the afternoon with a heavy pack filled with food. The headnet got a good workout, but it’s such a double edged sword – keeps the bugs out of my eyes and ears (which quickly drives me batty) but is so hot. Sweat was just pouring off of me, and frankly I wanted to stop sooner for the day but a burn area didn’t have the best spots (like camping in an ash tray) until I happened upon this meadow with still live trees. There are others camped around the corner, taking advantage of this beautiful area. Mt Adams looms to the east, and right now is lite up by the sunset. Ahhhh, I’m glad I’m not in town.

Post script – the worst thing I forgot to do in town was throw out my old, holey and ripped long johns I sleep in. Got a shiny new pair! Now carrying both for the next few days, oh well.

Blurry photo of my evening visitors:

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Look what I picked up in Trout Lake!

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New shoes – by far the cleanest item, including myself, with me right now:

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Unique water source:

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Different PCT signage:

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The actual bucket at that neat spring before the mosquitos started to swarm:

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Fields of lavender in the burn area:

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