Day 118: 8/4/14, PCT Milemarker 2281.2

Miles hiked: 23.3
Cumulative miles: 1323.7
Camped at: awesome overlook in Goat Rocks

The bug karma (remember my gleeful cackling yesterday afternoon?) was swift and brutal. Swift and brutal. I stopped 3 times in 15 miles this morning during what I’ve termed Mosquito Alley – maybe for 2 or 3 minutes each time. The first was to pick up some water (to treat later), the second time to Deet Up, and the third to re-Deet Up (I was sweating so much because I was practically running down the trail). Thank heaven the terrain was relatively easy, but I’m shocked I made it that far with only having a granola bar after breakfast – usually stomach makes a command decision to stop the feet from moving when the calories get too low. Apparently my arms, which were getting eaten alive poor things, made a serious plea. I had lunch with Bearclaw and Dirtmonger, who arrived in camp after 8pm last night. We had been leapfrogging all morning, and desperately sat on a thorny hillside in some shade (not the ideal break spot) to eat – me very grateful the mosquitos seemed to have abated. BearClaw said today was the worst mosquitos she’s seen on the trail, including the Sierras and Oregon. Yowza. But wait, the flies wanted some action, and began to chew up my legs whenever I would stop all afternoon! Sigh. Needless to say, it’s another eating in my tent evening. It’s also a sad statement that I put on After Bite and hydrocortisone like I would lotion. I also went farther today than I originally planned – with the morning sprint, I arrived at my intended campsite, 19 miles in, before 2:30pm. The campsite wasn’t ideal, no where near flat, and I still had energy so onwards I went. I’m glad I did, because entering the high country in Goat Rocks Wilderness was amaaaaazing! And totally redeemed the day.

Some short snow traverses, and endless scenery made the end of day thrilling. So pretty, soooo pretty. I didn’t have much energy for last bit of the climb up Ciapus Pass, but I was happy to meander when the wind was strong enough to keep the bugs off. I have a lovely campsite a few tenths of a mile past a waterfall and river tumbling down into the gorge, which I can easily hear – I sleep so well with water rushing by in the background!

Tomorrow looks like some serious climbing, hopefully the bugs will be better and the scenery still awesome! I will also “pass” the halfway point of my hike tomorrow!!

Post script: I now potentially have a reason for hitching into Packwood from White Pass, which I didn’t want to do – if there’s no Deet at the Kracker Barrel store. Deet, along with my head bugnet I’ve named “Sanity”, made today at least somewhat bearable. I’m certainly not going further on the trail without a good supply!!

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