Date: Tuesday, 08 August 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 2216.8, 3983 ft
Finish: Where the PCT crosses NF Road 23 at Mile 2226.4, 3849 ft
Daily Miles: 9.6 PCT, plus 2.3 in Trout Lake
Total PCT Miles: 1686.1
Weather: Hot, sunny and hazy.
Accommodation: Room at Trout Valley Inn
Breakfast: Omelette & hash browns, toast & jam
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich & fries, huckleberry milkshake
Dinner: Cheese enchilada & macaroni cheese, gelati & fruit pie.
Aches: Blister on back of left heel causing problems. Hopefully, half a day off will improve it.
Highlight: I have been a lucky hitch-hiker on this trip, and today was no exception. The guide says that traffic is so infrequent the National Forests road, that you should call one of the “trail angels” in Trout Lake from the higher elevations as you approach the road (no mobile coverage at the road) and ask if they can pick you up. I tried this, but the number I had been given was not working. So, I decided to get to the road as quickly as I could in the morning in the hope that either, someone dropping off a hiker at the trailhead would pick me up, or that one of the PCT hikers close behind me would have called ahead for a pickup and I would join them. Anyway, I covered the 10 miles to the road as quickly as I could, arriving just before 9:30am, and waited in the pleasant morning sunshine for half an hour before the first car went past. It didn’t stop, though I sensed some hesitation. Another ten minutes passed when a car came from the opposite direction, did a U-turn, and a girl asked me whether I wanted a lift into Trout Lake. Turned out it was the same car that had passed 10 minutes earlier, and after some discussion they had turned back to pick me up. They were a couple on vacation from Amsterdam (though the girl was American). I was so grateful and lucky to get the lift. When will my luck run out?
Lowlight: The distance from my motel, the only one in town, to the only store and only cafe in town is 3/4 of a mile of open countryside on a blazing hot summer day. Instead of covering the distance for a second time today, I bought some frozen food from the store which I microwaved in my motel room for dinner. Not what I would have preferred, but less onerous than the return walk.
Pictures: Click here
I woke before 5:00am and was walking before 6:00am, intent on getting to the road crossing as quickly as possible to maximise my chances of an early lift into Trout Lake. It was already warm, and there were stretches where the mosquitoes were particularly bad, though generally it was pleasant forest walking. I could have done without the 1200 ft climb before the descent to the road, particularly since walking uphill seems to aggravate the pain in my left heel where a blister has formed, but overall the hiking was fine.
At the road I managed to get a lift into town within 45 minutes (see above), and given the hour, got them to drop me at the town cafe rather than the motel. While waiting for my breakfast, I rang the motel and they said I could have my room as soon as I was ready, so after eating I walked the .75 miles there and checked in before noon. After showering and doing my laundry, I walked back to the cafe on a very hot afternoon, for a late lunch and bought food for the next few days from the small store, as well as something to microwave for dinner back at the motel (see above). While at the store, I asked about “trail angels” and was shown a list. Later, I called one of the names and will be picked up at 8:00am for a lift back to the trail. Very generous.
It’s supposed to be hot again tomorrow, but I suppose I should be grateful it’s not raining, which is Washington’s signature weather. Trout Lake is overlooked by the massive bulk of Mt Adams, but it’s barely visible through the smoke haze.