Aug 7: Lava Spring to Cispus River (PCT mile 2250.0 to 2272.9)

It did not rain last night. I left the rain fly door open which gave me a great breeze.

I got up early to hike in the cool of the morning. I got another view of the Fisher running down the trail away from me. So cool!

The trail took me through an area of many ponds. The mosquitoes were so bad I had to put my full mosquito armor: pant legs, long shirt and netting on my head and hands. It was crazy and must have lasted 10 miles or so. Finally I crested a ridge and was back in an area with a more normal amount of mosquitoes.

I’m excited to be hiking in the high country again where there are more views, meadows and breezes. It’s still early enough in the year that many seasonal creeks have water, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

I got a glimpse of Mt Rainer today.

Passed through many high meadows

And entered the Goat Rocks area

The mountains are layered looking west

Rain clouds have been building all afternoon and distant thunder has been booming. It mostly seems to be on the other side of the ridge, but every now and then the clouds creep on this side.

I am camped at a site a few hundred yards down from the trail. It is a small site in a few trees and I hope the distance from the trail will help me keep it to myself tonight.

I washed up in the stream, had dinner and then it started sprinkling. I set up the rain fly, but it soon stopped and now all the clouds are gone, so off comes the rain fly.

Thanks for reading!

Aug 6: Trout Lake Rd to Lava Spring (PCT mile 2229.2 to 2250.0)

I slept in so I could get breakfast at the cafe before hitching a ride to the trailhead.

I and two other hikers were picked up by a woman from CA who has been coming up here to pick Huckleberries every year since she was a little girl.

Today’s hike will take me up to the shoulder of Mt Adams and then around to the north end and back down.

On the hike up to shoulder, I found a large lava boulder which appears to have grooves cut into if from glacial activity

I’m hiking in an area that burned a few years ago and is growing back. The good part of this is the lack of forest allowing a cool breeze to blow through.

Soon I had a spectacular view of Mt Adams

More signs of glacial activity: many streams are milky white from crushed stone.

Come join me on a walk as I climb up the shoulder to Mt Adams

The Lupine and Indian Paintbrush are abundant here

As I pass the west side of Mt Adams, I can see a huge glacier.

The melt runoff from that glacier forms Adams Creek which I need to cross. I was a bit nervous about this crossing on the logs, but it was the best place. The biggest concern was the middle section where the logs are submerged.

I made it across, with two wet feet and dry everything else. Yay! Here’s a shot looking back.

As I pass to the west of Mt Adams I am still enjoying the high elevation views and wildflowers

A thunderstorm was brewing to the south of me, and it started booming as I approached my camp spot. I guess I’ll be putting the rain fly on the tent tonight.

Just before I got to camp I spotted a Fisher, the largest member of the weasel family, scampering up the trail towards me. We both stopped and checked each other out. I was able to get a photo of him/her running away. He/she was about the size of a very large cat, but longer and with a bushy tail. So cool! I’ve never seen them in the wild before.

The campsite I selected is a rather popular one: there are at least ten people camping here tonight. I was hoping it might rain and dive people into their tents, but the storm never appeared and I had to sleep with earplugs.

I heard an unusual and loud call last night, kind of wood furniture being scraped across the floor. I wonder if that is the mating call of a Fisher?

Thanks for reading!

Aug 5: Campsite above Blue Lake to Trout Lake Rd (PCT mile 2205.8 to 2229.2)

I woke up early feeling well rested and fully recovered from whatever ailed me yesterday.

My goal today is hike some 23 miles over mostly rolling hills, then one big one, to get to the Trout Lake Rd junction where I will hitch a ride down to the tiny city of Trout Lake.

The hike was mostly not that interesting- a few hidden ponds, lots of trees and few flowers. I did see this interesting mushroom

I pushed hard and made it to the road at about 4pm and was immediately picked up by a car!

I bought my resupply food in the small grocery store, ate dinner at the local cafe, and headed over to the church to camp in their lawn. There were a lot of PCT hikers hanging out at the store, and many will be camping there — too many for me!

I met an older couple hiking the trail and learned they have quite a bit of experience hiking and biking. The man is working on finishing his third PCT hike – he has already done the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail three times. They’ve hiked many of the Camino de Santiago hikes ( I thought there was only one – it seems there are at least 12), plus they have crossed the US on a tandem bicycle three times!

We shared our experiences and observations as older hikers: hiking slower, taking breaks, seeking less crowded campsites, etc. We feel the trail is overused and not as respected as it should be: trash and TP left at/near campsites and plants trampled.

I guess I’m part of that overuse, but I do my best to pack out my trash and used TP, bury my poop well in remote areas and try not to crush the flora along the way.

Sorry for so few pictures but thanks for reading!

Aug 4: Campsite above Panther Creek to Blue Lake (PCT mile 2186.2 to 2205.8)

I woke up feeling tired, out of breath, sweaty and generally low energy. I have the rest of a big hill to get over this morning then a smaller hill in the afternoon to get to Blue Lake where I hope to swim and camp.

I stopped at a water cache a few miles up the trail, found a shady spot and started to fill my bottle. I spilled a little water in the process and noticed several wasps crawling on the ground under where I was sitting. Then one stung my knee- seems I was spilling water on their nest entrance. I quickly moved about 30 feet away, but one followed me and stung my other leg. Ugh.

I pushed myself up and over the ridge and started feeling a little better after lunch. At one spot I met a father-daughter hiking pair who were cooking lunch. He had fresh onions, rice, fresh tomatoes, juices, cans of chicken and tuna — all very heavy stuff. He estimates that he carries five pounds of food per day. I try to carry less than one. He’s an experienced hiker (completed the Appalachian Trail) and this is what works for him. Wow.

As I hiked down the trail many miles from the water cache yet another wasp stung me on my leg. What is with it guys!

I got a view of Mt Hood behind me

And a view of Mt Adams ahead of me

After a very hot climb I arrived at Blue Lake.

I could not jump in to go swimming fast enough! It felt great. I found a secluded campsite and felt pretty certain I would have it to myself— I found it while tramping off trail and could not find any trail leading to it.

I was asleep by 6:30pm.

Thanks for reading!

Aug 3: Rock Creek to campsite above Panther Creek (PCT mile 2166.7 to 2186.2)

Woke up feeling great. I’ve got a big morning hill to conquer and completed it without too much sweat or pain.

I saw eight of these giant slugs on the trail

And I saw a type of fern I do not recall seeing earlier

I’m hiking down out if the wilderness and into an agricultural area.

It turned into a really hot day!

At the far end of that valley I ran into Trail Magic! On a dirt road where the PCT crosses, two Portland sisters hauled out food, beverages and chairs for hikers – one of them being their sister, Toots, on the right.

It was so awesome talking trail talk with the other hikers that I stuck around for over 2 hours. I’ve only got 4 miles to go to a campsite, but it is all uphill- maybe it’ll be a cooler hike later.

I trudged up the hill, but it was plenty warm. I was sweaty and exhausted when I arrived. I thought about cowboy camping, but saw a lot of ant roaming about. I set up my tent, are dinner and climbed into my tent. There was no breeze and I lay in my tent with no covers and fell asleep. Other hikers arrived and started setting up their tents. I put in earplugs and went back to sleep.

Aug 2: Cascade Locks to Rock Creek (PCT mile 2147.1 to 2166.7)

I had a great breakfast in town at the restaurant next to the Bridge of the Gods.

I crossed over the Columbia River into Washington. It was warm and humid with thick clouds, but the weather report showed no rain for the area today. I removed the leggings from my convertible pants to stay as cool as possible— today is a lot of uphill to get out of the river valley.

Unfortunately there is a lot of Poison Oak at this low elevation m, so I have to keep my eyes peeled until I get up to a higher elevation.

The good news is that there are ripe blackberries on the Washington side

I also these berries- those white ones are pretty scary

I passed a small lake early on, but since I hadn’t built up a sweat and I had showered this morning, I decided not to swim.

As I climbed higher, the clouds dropped lower

Soon mist was falling, large drops were raining from the trees, and my legs and shoes were getting wet from the overgrown bushes. It was still warm enough to stay in shorts and short sleeves, and except for my shoes, evaporation kept me from getting fully soaked. My feet were soaked, but not terribly uncomfortable.

I caught a few images of water on plants

I passed by the ruins of a wood structure destroyed in a fire in 1929. That long pile of wood used to be the side of s building

Take a short wall with me in the woods

I had a minor mishap when my foot slipped off the trail and my body followed. I skidded about four feet down the slope getting numerous scratches and twisting my knee a bit, but nothing serious.

The mist/rain ended in the early afternoon. I arrived at Rock Creek and selection a site uphill from the stream hoping that other hikers would select sites next to the water. By 8 o’clock I have two others very near me. Oh well.

Thanks for reading!

Aug 1: Teakettle Spring to Cascade Locks (PCT mile 2139.7 to 2147.3)

It took a while to get to sleep – I could hear trains and highway traffic noise some 2,000 feet below me.

I woke up and headed down the ridge with a list of activities to complete in town: mail home some no-longer-needed equipment (including Microspikes), restock 4 days of food at the market, wash me, wash my clothes, charge my electronics and backflush my water filter (it can get clogged by dirty water).

I got a glimpse of my destination as I started

Along the way down I saw this layered ridge view

And found this guy on the trail

There were some ride Wild Grape (I think)

I finally made it to the bottom of the mountain– to the lowest point on the PCT, Cascade Locks!

I saw a fruit stand nearby and before I could even ask the price the nice lady gave me a beautiful peach. It tasted great. She also let me try some of her Huckleberries, which were much tastier than the wild ones I’ve been munching on.

I have completed my list of things to do and am now headed out to seek dinner.

Tomorrow morning I cross the Bridge of the Gods into Washington. I’m excited to start hiking there!

Thanks for reading