Date: Saturday, 29 July 2017
Start: Camped beside Milk Creek at Mile 2025.1, 4338 ft
Finish: Junction of PCT with Olallie Lake Trail at Mile 2043.0, 4961 ft
Daily Miles: 17.9 PCT, plus 0.2 to Olallie Lake Store
Total PCT Miles: 1502.7
Weather: Warm and sunny
Accommodation: Tent in day use area by Olallie Lake
Breakfast: Pop tarts
Aches: Nothing new
Highlight: Jefferson Park, a sort of alpine plateau/meadow dotted with clear lakes and small copses of woods at 6000 ft overlooked by the snow-covered classic mountain shape of Mt Jefferson was fantastic.
Lowlight: None really.
Pictures: Click here
I was on the trail by 6:30am, hoping to cover the 18 miles to Olallie Lake store by 4:00pm. This proved to be optimistic because it turned out to be a challenging 18 miles.
Firstly, there was the long ascent up on to the shoulder of the imposing Mt Jefferson, including a challenging crossing of Russell Creek where I had to trek some way upstream before finding somewhere feasible. Across the valley, I could see the smoke from several wildfires that were burning, and later saw that a side trail was closed, and then later again helicopters sucking water from some lakes and dropping it on the fire.
At the top of the climb, the trail entered the park-like Jefferson Park, a flat meadow at 6000 ft, dotted with lakes and woods. It was beautiful, and a nice change from the long climb, though that resumed soon afterwards as the trail went up steeply to 7000 ft to cross a ridge with fantastic views in all directions on a perfect day, a just reward for the hard work to get there.
From the ridge, the trail descended across a number snow fields that made for slow going and navigational challenges, and then through a mix of burnt out forest and healthy forest on often very rocky trail. It was a popular area, and I saw many day hikers including a couple of trail runners.
It seemed to take forever to reach the Olallie Lake trail, where I arrived around 4:45pm, and shortly after I reached the store where I treated myself to a couple of Cokes and some chips. There were no cabins available, so I ended up camping in the adjacent day-use area with a number of other PCT hikers. There was a trail angel in residence, and he produced a giant vat of stew for us to eat for dinner, which was much appreciated, and we all sat around chatting into tbe dusk.
The store has enough food, though very pricey, to get me to my next resupply point.