July 26: Cliff above Wasco Lake to Jeff Creek (PCT mile 2010.9 to 2030.6)

I looked around after dark and saw the lights of the town of Sisters off to the east. During the day I could see no signs of a city.

Today’s objective is to hike to the base of Mt Jefferson.

The mosquitoes were waiting for me to get up, but not nearly as many as a few days ago. it is so nice to be out of mosquito hell!

I hiked a ridge towards Mt Jefferson and had some great views of inviting lakes below

The wildflowers were abundant again

Including one of my favorites- columbine

And this Lilly

I finally got a photo of some butterflies- they are usually too quick for me, but these were engrossed in their investigating this poop pile. There must be five or more butterflies in this photo

I had time to take a nap after lunch, but the mosquitoes descended on me, so out came the netting, including my newly acquired net gloves!

I swam in Shale Lake — it was so nice. Later I watched a garter snake swim across the lake. Cool, I like snakes!

I hiked down a long ridge to the “creek” that separated it from the next ridge. It’s named Milk Creek because the water is white with “glacial milk” a combination of ice melt and pulverized stone due to glacial activity. This was my first challenging stream crossing this trip. There was a lot of fast moving water in a boulder filled ravine. The opposite bank had an ice field four to eight feet high. There was an ice bridge over the river, but the middle had a hole punched through– possibly someone fell partway through in a collapse? I started hiking upstream until I found the stream split around a tiny island and had a decent set of rocks exposed to allow me to cross. Well positioned boulders helped me ascend the icefield on the far bank. Here a photo of the creek flowing under the dirt-covered ice field on the far bank

I started hiking up the new ridge and soon came to a burn area. A few years back a wildfire roared through this area leaving scorched earth and dead trees. Backpackers call standing dead trees “Widow-makers” because the will eventually fall, usually by winds. Some hikers avoid camping in but areas all together, but I take a more pragmatic approach: I hang out in the area I intend to camp in and listen for branch or tree falls, and I test the stability of the trees near me.

I heard no trees nor branches fall, but did hear a few creaks. I decided to stay for the night.

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