Date: Thursday, 10 August 2017
Start: Camped by Lava Spring at Mile 2247.0, 4522 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 2272.1, 6148 ft
Daily Miles: 25.1 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 1731.8
Weather: Very warm, sunny and hazy.
Dinner: Teriyaki rice with salmon
Aches: Blister site on back of left heel still giving me grief. I’ve tried a few things, but have limited medical supplies, and need to do the miles, so it gets little time to heal.
Highlight: The Goat Rocks Wilderness is another area of wildflower-carpeted alpine meadows and clear babbling streams and waterfalls. This time complemented by rocky escarpments and beautiful forested valleys.
Lowlight: In mid-morning the trail passed by a series of small stagnant-looking lakes in the forest which were obviously the birthplace of millions of mosquitoes. They were everywhere and voracious. Despite being due for a break, I just kept walking until the lakes were far behind.
Pictures: Click here
Position: Click here.
Map: Click here for Google Map
I was walking by 6:20am, planning to do as many miles as I could today, to minimise the miles I have to do tomorrow to get to White Pass and then hitch to Packwood where I have booked two nights in a motel and will resupply. White Pass was still 45 miles away, so regardless of what I did today, I was still going to be walking for most of tomorrow as well, but the less the better.
The early miles were through forest with not much to see though the trail was climbing most of the time. Later in the morning it passed by some shallow brownish lakes and mosquitoes were plentiful (see above). After the lakes, the trail climbed higher onto a ridge and there were hazy forested mountain views to the west while the terrain became more precipitous, with care needed on the crumbly dusty trail, before it entered an area of alpine meadows . It crossed into another valley and then up to Cispus Pass at 6480 ft with spectacular views in all directions and a few patches of snow on the ground. It is a popular area and the height of the season, so it was not surprising that there were quite a few hikers on the trail, mostly going the other way. The scenery was excellent (see above), but the trail was often rocky and slow going. Nevertheless I made reasonable time, and was happy to stop soon after 6:30pm in a very nice spot by the trail.
Another hiker is camped nearby and came over to introduce himself while I ate my dinner. He is three days back on the trail with the rest of Washington to go to finish the PCT hike he was doing last year, when he had to pull out at Trout Lake (my last stop) with an ankle stress fracture. Strangely, while I was in Trout Lake, I met another hiker abandoning his PCT hike because of a stress fracture in the ankle. There are lots of things that can get you on the trail!
I have 20 miles to go to get to White Pass tomorrow, and with luck, will be there before 4:00pm.