170716 – Sky Lakes Wilderness

Day:  084
Date:  Sunday, 16 July 2017
Start:  Camped by the trail near Christi’s Spring at Mile 1782.4, 6293 ft
Finish:  Camped by the trail at Mile 1804.5, 6424 ft
Daily Miles:  22.3 PCT 
Total PCT Miles: 1264.2 
Weather:  Cool early, then warm and sunny
Accommodation:  Tent
     Breakfast:  Muesli
     Lunch:  Gorp
     Dinner:  Rehydrated Mesquite BBQ flavoured chicken with rice and beans
Aches:  Nail on little toe becoming painful.  I applied a small tube bandage and that seemed to do the trick.
Highlight:  Through a combination of luck and good management, I found a campsite with no mosquitoes.  It is high on a breezy ridge in a burnt out forest, and either the breeze or the limited vegetation, has made the mozzies scarce.
Lowlight:  Plagued by mosquitoes for much of the day, and again many fallen trees across the trail to be negotiated.
Pictures:  Click here

Position:  Click here.
Map:  Click here for Google Map

The mosquitoes were out in force from the moment I got out of my tent, and I was pleased to be hiking by 6:15am, and doubly pleased because it was cold enough to warrant wearing my rain jacket which provided some extra protection for the first few hours.  The mosquitoes were around for much of the day, getting particularly bad from mid afternoon, and I was applying repellent at every break …… probably not very healthy ……. and wearing my headnet.

After a few hours of pleasant forest walking, the trail began climbing steadily, often along rocky ledge trails, over the shoulder of Devil’s Peak.  There were great views in most directions and the Sky Lakes Wilderness seemed to be aptly named.  There was some snow during the ascent on the southern side of the mountain and my fears about more snow on the northern slopes for the descent were confirmed when I crossed a saddle at 7500 ft.  I was about to begin a traverse of a reasonably steep snowfield to follow the trail route when I noticed that people had been sliding straight down the slope on their butts.  And that’s how I descended three successive snow slopes to get down to the trail below.  You get a very wet butt and need to use your boots to control your speed,  but it was definitely preferable to traversing slippery slopes.

Although there were some streams coming off the snow, water was going to be scarce later in the day, and for camping, so I loaded up with water at the last certain stream and had a heavy pack for the last seven miles of the day.  However, apart from the mosquitoes, the hiking was quite pleasant and I found a good place to camp just after 6:00pm, and about a mile short of where I wanted to be.

Tomorrow, I will have about 14 miles to hike to reach Mazama Village in Crater Lake National Park.  Hopefully,  I will get there in time to get lunch at the cafe and then will do laundry and food shopping in the afternoon at the campground.  I have also booked a (over-priced) cabin for the night, so am looking forward to a bit of relaxing tomorrow afternoon after four solid days of hiking.

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2 Responses to 170716 – Sky Lakes Wilderness

  1. Guesty says:

    Thoroughly enjoying your adventure Dave, I am planning 3 weeks in the States next May so hopefully will get to check out some of the territory you have traversed. Good that you have a set schedule now for your return with your return flight booked, to add a little extra motivation, as if you need that. Will be great to catch up in October. Best wishes. Guesty


    • Dave Byrnes says:

      Thanks for the message, Steve. You are right about setting the date to finish and fly back to Oz. I have definitely felt more motivated this week, and even though only half way, feel like the end is in sight. Cheers, Dave.


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