OR Day 20: 9/19/2016

Turn a corner and see….

Early morning meadow

PCT Mile Marker: 1961.5, Miles hiked today:  13.8

Some fantastic views on display today!  And here I thought in the morning it’d just be another day walking through pine forests.  I was soon disabused when I entered the Elk Lake burn area about 2 miles from where I camped.  The sun was immediately appreciated, as everything last night was so damp.  I promptly sat on a sun-warmed rock and, having decent cell coverage, made a few calls, getting my Sisters zero day lodging set up, and finding out the score from Big Agnes about getting my tent fly repaired (now a huge hassle when you’re out hiking – unless you have a catastrophic failure wait until you get home).  

Morning break in the sun

Climbing up Koosah Mountain took the rest of my morning, and the lunchtime view and warmth from the sun were definitely worth it!  Plus, having LTE coverage unexpectedly is always a bonus when I’m by myself :).  Drying out the tent from the major condensation last night was another bonus.  I’m always relieved when I know my home for the night is dry, darn AT wet weather flashbacks!  

Lunch time drying out on the summit of Koosah Mt

The afternoon was a complete surprise, all of a sudden I turned a corner and had an amazing meadow walk for a mile or 2!  It was super chilly though – wow, the wind whipped right through there.  It’s so obvious the season is rapidly changing to autumn – golden grass, shrubbery changing to shades of red, clear blue skies, a bite to the wind that wasn’t there 3 weeks ago.  

Meadow walk approaching South Sister

I had planned today to be my lower mileage day in this section – I saw the elevation profile change from nice and gradual to more climbs, so didn’t want to overdo it.  Good call, if I do say so myself!  I was kinda tired today, though I slept well last night for the most part.  Perhaps body is still making up for the stormy night?  Probably.  Regardless, it was extra nice to lollygag even more than I normally do, spending lots of time at the views and getting into camp before 5.  I’m camped at an established site, but it obviously doesn’t get used all that much.  If I wasn’t already concerned about the elevation change tomorrow, I would’ve stayed at Mesa Creek, which was such an awesome valley with burbling stream.  Instead, I climbed the final mile of the day, lugging water to dry camp.  I hope I thank myself tomorrow.  

Mesa Creek

I camped at 6100+ feet, and I can already tell it’s going to be a chilly night – brrrr!  I’m bundled up in my liner, quilt, with down booties and mittens on, and will probably add my sit pad around my hips soon.    

Hikers encountered: 4 SOBO solo guys, 1 in morning, 1 at lunch, and 2 in late afternoon.  Actually, the last one was probably a trail runner/day hiker.  I also met and chatted with 2 National Forest staff, who had camped out and were hiking out – each with a full sized shovel.  I didn’t ask what they were for!  I was somewhat surprised I didn’t get asked for my permit, then being official-type folks, but I was asked my name and where I was from!  They were both really nice and if we hadn’t been in a super windy (and chilly) section I would’ve lingered longer – they were the only ones all day willing to have a conversation.  

Gear minutiae:  sewed small hole (knew about it last night but couldn’t be bothered) in sleep tights, nothing else new, thank heavens.  

Health update:  blisters seem to be holding their own, no major pain today.  Cough is about the same, worse in the dusty areas.  Energy may also have been lagging due to my time of the month, hoping that cramps just continue to be minimal or stay away.  My appetite is affected though – I had to practically choke down my 2 tacos tonight, at home I have a fussy tummy on these days and can indulge it.  Not so much out here in the backcountry!  


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