Happy my feet are not….
PCT Mile Marker:1915.1; Miles hiked today: 13 (half in sandals)
Camped at: Bobby Lake with Ed (trail maintainer leading a crew this weekend – thanks Ed!!), a father and young son, and 2 German guys who hauled their guitars out here – so nice to have music in camp!
Last night after 8pm, I heard hikers arrive, saw a few headlamps and what I thought was at least one person making camp. At 12:15a, getting up to pee, after a train rumbling by incorporates itself into my dream, I see no one and no tents – ? Where oh where are the other hikers? Perhaps daylight will reveal all.
Well, there were hikers across the way when I got up this morning. One was still sleeping so the other and I simply waved hello. I headed up the road back to the trail while he headed into Shelter Cove. Once back on the trail I stopped at the viewpoint / campsite I was considering for yesterday night – nice, but I’m glad I stayed put, I slept great next to the rushing creek! Not a sound common out here in the west, at least here in Oregon along the PCT.
The mossy verdant pine forest continued for a few miles, and I had a nice hike to Willemite Pass and the start of Oregon section E. At the pass, I took a break with a gentleman waiting for his friend to arrive so they could do an overnighter. We commiserated about being early risers amongst those who aren’t!
The climb to the 3 Rosary Lakes was steady and thankfully mostly gradual. Unfortunately my right heel with the blister started to hurt with each step. At Lower Rosary Lake I stopped for about an hour, a good 30-45 mins to do foot care. While I was there, 2 SOBO section hikers finishing their hike at the pass came by, and Bill very kindly gave me his medical tape and an extra cushion pad. Thanks so much Bill!! He had bad problems on his last weekly section, and so had a fully stocked foot care bag. I had flashbacks to my own foot bag on the AT those 2-3 weeks when I tried a different brand of shoe that decidedly didn’t fit. Yea, not doing that again. A hard part of being out here is deciding when and where to bail, when pain edges into -“heck no, I need to stop walking and let this heal.” My tolerance is decidedly less as a section hiker with a deadline of when I need to get home.
So, I limped further up Maiden Peak, enjoying the glimpses of the rosary lakes sparkling between the trees. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and changed into my sandals. My decidedly zero drop, minimalist camp shoes that are not in any way shape or form what you would call supportive for backpacking. Yea. My arches didn’t like the situation at all.
So I limped (without as much pain) upwards still, with a bumblebee bothering me for I swear was 2 miles. Full disclosure – I was getting grumpy as it was taking me so long to reach Maiden Ski Shelter, where I wanted to have lunch. Well, I finally made it, and had a good long break with Puck, a NOBO who is also an AT-2013 alum, though he went SOBO. We didn’t think we met each other then, but had a great conversation. He has a very healthy view towards “making miles” or the lack thereof.
After lunch, I staggered on my way, shaking out my sandals constantly of small pebbles and pine needles, 3 more miles to Billy Lake. This was my minimum target for today, and really wanted to go farther. Yea, the feet weren’t having it. So I made a leisurely evening of it – steripening water (after pre-filtering, while the lake is lovely, it was hard to find a flowing section), setting up camp, eating dinner, cleaning up, and finally talking Ed’s ear off while he ate, and we listened to the Germans playing guitar and hoped to see the full moonrise before we got too cold. It’s bright!!
So nice to have companionship today – first with Puck and then Ed. I was feeling pretty low and frustrated with the feet being so unhappy, and chatting with each of them nicely helped me to broaden my perspective. Except for the mosquitos, my mood brightened rapidly.
So, I saw and/or interacted with 11 hikers today – all men. Every single one. Ladies, gals, dames, where are you??
Gear minutiae: pulled out the old needle and thread again, this time for my silk hiking tights. I seem to remember the little rip previously, so I’m hoping its not an indicator of how fragile they’ll be. It was so nice having the long layer today!
Health update: one good blister on pinkie toe, one bad blister on heel – ughh. Cough continues, but isn’t worse. I have a feeling I’m stuck with it until the dust or me is gone. Crack on crease of thumb – better! The bandaid the past 2 days has really helped the healing process along.
I’ve been yawning uncontrollably for the past 10 mins, time indeed for sleep. Good night all!