Hello weekenders and soft rain showers!
PCT mile marker 1930.8, camped at Brahma Lake
Miles hiked today: 15.6 + 0.3 side trail = 15.9
Ahh, I love being warm and cozy in my tent as light rain patters on the fly. Sprinkles started late this afternoon, after threatening to all day. It was enough to deploy the umbrella and pack cover but not the rest of my rain gear. Now, I just need to wait for it to let up momentarily so I can clean up my pot, pee, and rescue my half-bandana that is hanging outside (I forgot about it as I dove in). I’m pleased my tenacious tape fixes on the fly from day 1 are working well – this is the first evening rain to test the temporary fix.
Boy, I am out of practice with the routine of getting out of/back in the tent in rainy weather. Heck, I was a pro at this on the AT! Hopefully I won’t get too much practice in what remains of my section hike here in Oregon. But gah, my rain coat has such a stench now that I hiked in it several chilly mornings – nearly gag worthy.
This morning started with a lovely sunrise on Bobby Lake. I got a slightly later than normal start at 7:50, but I had forgotten how long the foot care routine with blisters can be. Plus, I’m so much happier with how I’ve been sleeping all week since my zero at Diamond Lake that it’s easy to hit the snooze button. I finally got ready, said goodbye to Ed, and was back on the PCT soon after 8am. No need for my long layers this morning, it was comfortably cool, not chilly, and perfect weather for climbing. So I climbed, and climbed, and breathed, and breathed some more. Oh, and had some hacking coughs in the midst of all that, par for the course.
I met a SOBO thru hiker packing up camp, trail name of Medicine Man due to practicing acupuncture. He seemed like a great guy and very interesting to talk to, too bad we’re going opposite ways. He was the only long distance backpacker I saw all day, but only the first of many conversations with weekenders. A crazy mountain biker was laboriously going uphill on the incredibly steep side trail at an intersection I took my first break at, I couldn’t believe he was up there. I also met a father/son combo on the descent after the climb – immediately after I slung my pack off and said to myself – there is no one around, who cares if it’s a pretty exposed place to pee! Luckily I hadn’t started my Biz when I saw them coming.
At Carlton Lake where I had lunch, I met the mother load of weekenders – a father/daughter combo out for her first backpacking trip (yea!!!!) and two big groups who were car camping. There is a parking lot nearby, so they just had to haul their stuff a short distance. At the road crossing, I also talked with a couple in their SUV who had spent a day or two at Waldo Lake nearby. She had lots of questions and was really interested in my hike, as her son has also done large sections at a time.
I was very Grateful for the overcast skies while in the Charlton Burn area, which went on for a few miles this afternoon. After what felt like a slow morning, though I was proud of myself for controlling my pace so well during the long gradual climb, I hiked 5 miles without stopping in 2 hours – most of that was through the burn. I so wanted to take a break at the hour and a half mark, but I’m wary of breaking on burn trees – no matter how clean they look, soot inevitably gets on me. Plus, the entire area was super exposed in case it started to storm. I met a day hiker pretty far into the burn area (gasp!) and asked him how much longer it went on for- he wasn’t far off, it was slightly more than a mile (he told me slightly less) from the point we talked.
Finally, within 3 miles of Brahma Lake which I was aiming for, I met a grandfather/grandson combo who had been up at Dennis Lake fishing and camping for a few days. Paul, the granddad, couldn’t believe my age when I told him! He’s the third guy in the past week or so that thought I was in my early 20s when I’m actually 37. Now, granted, I do have a baby face, and regularly got carded until I was about 31 or so, but all of them were genuinely shocked! Maybe the wilderness de-ages me? That’d be nice! Needless to say, I felt like I had plenty of human contact today, so I was actually pleased when I got to Brahma Lake and saw no one here.
Wonderful timing – got into camp, set up, got water, washed off legs in the lake, and got back to tent by the time rain started again and I dove in. While I went through my baby wipe bath routine, I threw a water purification tablet into my 2L dirty bag – a lot quicker and easier when it’s raining not to bother with the Steripen. I had to wait 30 mins to use the water but it was time well spent gawking at new blisters on my left heel and right index toe on top – I’ve never gotten one there before, considering both heels have blisters now, and the inside of the heel part of the shoes is completely torn up, I’m calling this pair of shoes a lemon. I can’t wait to get my new shoes in Sisters that Mom put in the mail today. This pair is the same brand/style but half a size larger. I’m wondering if my feet are swelling more than expected – they’ve been pretty warm while hiking. If I’m sliding around too much, an option will be to take the bus into Bend – apparently there is a shoe store there that sells Altras! Needless to say, I was pleased the blisters did so well today – no hiking in sandals, thank heavens especially in the burn area with all the ashy dust, twigs, and splinters from the blowdowns. The feet aren’t 100% happy, but I’m feeling much more confident about continuing to hike instead of looking for the nearest bailing spot.
Gear update: sewed 2 new holes in the shorties, though both were right next to former failure points. Can’t even recall how many times this is now. I lost the needle for a few minutes in my tent, which caused a slight panic – I’m laying on an inflatable sleeping pad after all. How does it just disappear? Finally found it under the pad, it must’ve rolled there when I was shifting about. Hopefully I don’t wake up on the ground tomorrow morning!
Health update: the saga of the cough and blisters continue, though the feet are somewhat more sore than normal tonight, probably a leftover from the sandals yesterday and the higher mileage today. I have a few mosquito bites from yesterday, including one on my bum, oh the indignity. Luckily I’m not allergic to any yet, so no hives.
Post-script: despite being so sleepy my eyes involuntary slip shut, I can’t relax enough to fall asleep tonite. I may have drifted for a while but no deep sleep. Worried about the damaged fly holding up in what turned out to be steady rain. Needing to get out of the tent again to pee. Of course, TMI, I also started my period yesterday too. Oy, tomorrow is going to be a long day.