Day 117: 8/3/14, PCT Milemarker 2257.9

Miles hiked: 13.7 – half day off in the woods!
Cumulative miles: 1300.4
Camped at: Lava Springs campsite

Yea for going over 1300 miles and a half day of hiking! I got here to an awesome crystal clear lava spring, with great camping, for lunch. I quickly threw up my tent as I had been dreaming of doing so as I sprinted the last 3 or more miles to escape the swarming biting flies. I really wanted to take a short nap after lunch, and since I had already hiked nearly 14 miles by 12:05, I figured I easily had the time. Once I dived into Sanctuary (new name for my beloved BA tent), and happily consumed lunch, I started looking over the rest of the miles to White Pass. Only 45 miles from here?! And I need to get there on Wednesday to pick up a box that my wonderful mother is mailing tomorrow? I started looking the rest of the section over, scrutinizing possible campsites and water sources, and it actually works much better to camp near water if I stay here tonight, and I’ll only have 8+ miles to hike into White Pass on Weds – perfect as getting in too early there might not be rooms available yet, etc. I was thinking I’d either have to slow down at some point or take a zero at White Pass, which didn’t sound that appealing with 1 motel and not even a restaurant; I didn’t want to hitch into Packwood, 20 miles away from the trail. So, non hiking time at a beautiful spot for me! I don’t think I’ve stopped this early since the day before Forester Pass, when Dust Bunny and I stopped to set up our ascent the next morning. A nice treat indeed, especially since I hiked more than I thought I would yesterday. I should really finish setting up camp (actually stake down the tent, blow up my thermarest, etc) so I can nap, read, and laze about to my heart’s content.

This morning the deer and I startled one another, and I quickly packed up camp and was on the trail at 6:15. The hiking was lovely and easy – rolling hills and almost continuous views of Mt Adams. As I got within 3.5 miles of the summit skirting around the giant volcano, I was stunned that I had actually hiked up at that elevation (12K+) for weeks on end in the Sierra – seemed like a lot higher from a perspective of being down at 6000 feet! Scents were also throwing me for a loop this morning – the almost overpowering lavender in the burn area, the sulfur smell of the silty milky-colored glacier-fed rivers. Several fords today – wet feet over and over again certainly broke in the new pair of shoes! Nice and dirty now, no longer gleaming at all. A few of the fords were challenging, but mostly from the perspective that I couldn’t see under the surface of the river to gauge depth or rocks. I was relieved that at the worst one, Lewis River IIRC, there were other folks about, including a nice older couple who I believe are doing a section hike of WA. During my sprint down to the spring for lunch, I briefly chatted with some PCTA trail crews, and saw several folks on horses enjoying their Sunday morning. Quite a difference from yesterday morning when I saw only 1 other person going southbound!

I usually err on the side of treating all water unless it is coming out of the earth and/or so high up in elevation that camping couldn’t happen around/near the source. Well, if I get Giardia, it’ll be from this spring! It’s flowing from under a huge huge pile of lava rocks going up the mountain. Gorgeous and soooooo cold.

Keeps going cloudy and somewhat ominous looking today, though no thunder. I may have to jump out of Sanctuary again at some point to put on the rain fly. At least my hiking clothes will have time to dry today! It was quite unpleasant to put on still soaked with sweat clothing this morning. Dreaming of laundry…..

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