Day 4 (May 23): Barker Pass to Five Lakes Creek

11 miles (hard earned!) on the PCT.

I woke up surrounded by fog – I’m in a cloud, but at least it’s not raining.

Lots of snow hiking and more cross country travel. Saw deer prints

and a bobcat print (no pic, sorry) in the snow.

More signs of spring trying to start

The trail soon rose into the snow and presented some pretty steep traverses:

Only every so often some trail.

I traversed some pretty knarly sections all afternoon. It was physically and emotionally draining to assess and commit. There were no previous footsteps to use so I had to kick, often multiple times to make each foothold. I was always at the ready to perform a self-arrest should I slip.

I use a PCT GPS app on my cellphone to let me know where the trail is when it’s buried in snow. Of course when I need it most the battery is dying. I was on top of a edge above the xxx ski area when a whiteout condition formed and my phone was down to 10% charge. I plugged it into my recharger and checked which direction I should be going. It reported that I should walk perpendicular to the ridge, right off the side of the mountain. It was so confusing, I traversed back and forth and finally the clouds lifted. I could see where I wanted to go, but the app was in disagreement. Finally I considered that the iPhone compass might be compromised by being stacked on the battery. I separated the two and reloaded the app. Voila, map and app agree. I wasted at least half an hour up there in the rain.

It stopped raining at about 4 but I was still high on a ridge with no flat spot to camp.

I finally descended the ridge, off trail, through snow, trees and then willows and marsh. I found the campsite around 5pm and I was beat!

I set up my tent, ate dinner and climbed in my tent. My shirts, pants, socks and boots are soaked, and they will not be dry in the morning! I hope it won’t be a wet morning! I dressed a nasty blister that has been plaguing me- I have a photo, but choose to keep this blog civil.

Just after I entered my cocoon of warmth and dryness I heard something I had not heard in days: human voices! I was too tired to re-don my wet clothes so just hoped I would find them in the morning.

I slept well!

Thanks for reading.

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