Hello Mt Hood!
PCT Mile Marker: 2106.53, camped just before Muddy Fork River, Miles Hiked today: 18.6
My longest day mileage wise on the trail this year – and boy did my feet know it on the 2.5 mile 1600 ft descent at the end of the day. Tired and shaky enough that I took one long look at the Muddy Fork river crossing and said “no way I can do that tonight”. Thankfully Hemlock immediately took me at my word and we backtracked 0.1 mile to a campsite. There is a super scary (to someone afraid of heights and not confident about her balance) log crossing but after dinner Hemlock and I looked at our options again and decided to ford the river instead tomorrow morning. It’ll be chilly for sure, but both of us liked that option far more than then the sketchy looking slippery logs. I’m so grateful I’m with Hemlock for this, as we’ve hiked together when each of us has freaked out about something. Thankfully never at the same time!
What an incredibly nice day of hiking! We started the day at a gorgeous overlook with a panorama shot of the Washington volcanos – Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, and even Mt Rainier in the hazy distance. After an awesome ridge walk, we got a great first glimpse of Mt Hood from the trail. It was amazing how the mountain “grew” and grew the closer we came all day.
Most of the morning was meandering gradually up and down through lovely woods and a few ridge walks. We made such good time it was a no brainer to decide to camp where we are and not to lug water to dry camp up the last 1200 ft climb. Even that sustained climb was graded gently with switchbacks galore. It did seem, though, that we climbed it simply to descend again.
I was simply dripping with sweat all day today. Warmer temps and lower elevations plus exertion equal me reaching for the Gatorade and my half bandana which serves as my face wiping rag. Normally it’d be pretty damp camping as close as we are to a river, and it is somewhat, but the warm air temps are making this evening quite pleasant.
Hemlock and I each guessed this morning how many people we would see – she was far closer at 20! I only guessed 6. There were lots of backpackers and day hikers around with numerous trails in the area (Mt Hood Wilderness).
Gear minutiae: some minor sewing completed as per usual.
Health update: cough has significant in its absence today! Fingers crossed it remains that way. Feet are getting happier, except with the long miles.