Date: Wednesday, 23 August 2017
Start: Camped by Pear Lake, 0.1 miles from PCT Mile 2480.1, 4843 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 2502.9, 5525 ft
Daily Miles: 22.8 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 1962.6
Weather: Mild and mostly sunny.
Dinner: Rehydrated lasagne with meat sauce.
Aches: Last night my right foot slipped off the trail on some pine needles on a steep slope as I descended to the campsite. I managed to save myself, but my left knee and hip took all the strain. It thought I was OK but the hip was increasingly sore during this morning’s hiking, and in the end, I had to take an anti-inflammatory which seemed to make a difference.
Highlight: Dress circle views of endless, seemingly chaotic, mountains in all directions from the trail, which for most of the day followed a meandering, mostly treeless, craggy ridge line northwards.
Lowlight: Loading up with water with about four miles to go to camp, thinking the trail would mostly be descending, and finding it actually climbed another 600 ft before beginning its descent.
Pictures: Click here when they can be uploaded which may not be until September 1st because of low Wi-Fi bandwidth and no mobile phone coverage.
I was hiking by soon after 6:30am and immediately noticed my left hip, which I had strained during a slip on the trail last night (see above), was stiff and sore. It became more painful as the morning progressed and eventually I took an anti-inflammatory which lessened the pain. Hopefully no serious damage has been done.
The early hiking was through forest and contained one long descent followed by an even longer ascent to above the treeline. Then, for the balance of the day, although the altitude fluctuated between 5000 ft and 6600 ft, the trail remained high on grass or heath covered slopes and there were always views to mountains near and far, some quite oddly shaped. Rather than rolling mountain ranges, it all seemed chaotic and the mountains mostly very steep. The smoke haze from yesterday had largely cleared, so there was more clarity, and I had occasional good views of Glacier Peak.
During the afternoon I began to encounter marmots, some seemingly unperturbed by a hiker, which added to the magic of the day. The late afternoon trail descended through a very alpine treeless valley with many snow patches, and I stopped for the day at 6:30pm, at a fairly exposed campsite. There were more campsites ahead at lower altitudes, and I would have liked to cover another mile or two, but I was worried they would already be occupied, so grabbed the first I saw. It’s beautiful location was spoiled a little by too many bugs, and as I went to bed it looked like clouds were closing in. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was foggy in the morning.