Shiver me timbers….
PCT mile marker 1855.9, miles hiked today: 10.3, elevation 7,192 feet (undoubtedly the highest I’ll camp on this trip)
After another wonderful night’s sleep indoors, I was conflicted this morning – it’d be so easy to stay another day! But, I was ready to hike again – felt that antsy feeling, thinking “I should be out on the trail!”. After a great breakfast at Diamond Lake Lodge, I caught the free shuttle at 10am back to the trailhead. Or rather, they ran the shuttle just for me as I was the only hiker there. There was some sort of conference going on at the resort, it was so odd to see a bunch of folks with nametags lining up for their breakfast buffet! But, it was my type of conference – everyone was in hiking clothes with daypacks, and I saw them leaving as I was packing up.
Back on the trail at 10:15am, I kept my raincoat on as it was chilly, and while I took it off for part of the climb up to over 7000 feet, the wind was so brisk I put it back on – and didn’t take it off again until camp when I exchanged it for my puffy! At breaks it was a quest for sunshine, and as soon as shade came in on I went. Such a change from Saturday where I was walking shade to shade and felt so hot. Pine needles rained down as the wind coldly blew, and I so wished for the hiking tights and long sleeved shirt waiting for me in my resupply box at Shelter Cove Resort, where I should arrive on Thursday afternoon. I remember thinking when I packed it up – will I really need these so soon? It was hard to contemplate such cold weather when it was 85 degrees out with 85% humidity. I highly doubt it reached 60 today.
I leapfrogged all day with Traveler and Bump, 2 NOBOs doing a bigger section than I – they started at Echo Lake, just after the High Sierra. Traveler is also an AT alum, he hiked in 2012 and in camp we had a good ole time reminiscing. None of us wanted to camp at an even higher elevation, so stopped on the early side at 5pm. After forcing ourselves to wait to eat dinner until 6, we were all bundled up in our shelters by 6:40. It’s 7:40 right now, and still light outside! The wind comes in fierce gusts, and I’m thinking its a night that I’ll be layering my rain gear on top of my quilt for extra warmth. I’m already in the liner, with my quilt cinched down, and have my down booties on! My hands are chilly as I have them outside of my down fold back mittens to type, but I’m soon going to tuck them in. Heck, this might be a night to add my thermarest zlite panels (normally my pack back panel, sit pad, and kneel pad outside my tent) underneath me for extra warmth….I’ll do it when I get out to pee in a bit before trying to sleep!
The views around Mt Theilsen were great, as well as looking out from above to see Diamond Lake and other mountains in the distance. At one point there was a view of the Crater Rim in the distance – amazing to think I walked along that just the other day!
- Sewed my shorties again, for the 3rd time. This brand, while awesome for wicking and drying fast, is just too delicate for a long backpacking trip. I guess the June test in Glacier wasn’t a good indicator of long term durability. At this point, I’m just trying to get them to Shelter Cove in a few days where I have tights waiting for me.
- I am SO grateful that the Diamond Lake store had a large fuel canister – it was so nice to cook dinner at the water source, but then still have hot chocolate in camp.
- I may have wrecked the little cable that connects my headphones and phone with the waterproof case – it bent funny and now I can see wires. Sigh. Fingers crossed it still works well enough as I’m really appreciating listening to music and podcasts in the afternoons, particularly the dreaded final hour of hiking.
Health notes: still coughing and congested, but both the nasal spray and wearing my buff over my mouth and nose while I hiked today seemed to have helped. I guess the silver lining for the chilly weather is that it made using the buff as a dust barrier much more comfy! Lungs are protesting a bit being at such a high elevation, but the hiking was truly very gradual and kind today so while I had to stop, it wasn’t overly frustrating. Tomorrow I reach the high point in Oregon/Washington along the PCT! Actually, along the Rim Trail Alternate the other day was just as high, or higher, but no sign for photos. I’ll be very glad to camp lower (and warmer) tomorrow night.