Day 87: Trail tease

Wed. 7/17/13
24.1 miles (Miles 1204.6 – 1228.7)
PCT Mile 1204.6 – PCT Mile 1228.7)

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Afternoon on a flowery trail near a spring

Well, no bears visited us last night, but I’m okay with that – I just have no crazy bear story to share. Maybe I’ll have to make one up sometime for fun.

Today’s hike was kind of a tease. We are most definitely on the Pacific Crest Trail. We hiked along a series of crests (go figure!), and we got some amazing views of valleys on both sides. We also got to see a bunch of sparkly, blue mountain lakes on both sides.

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Lakes way down in the valley

Looking down off the crest to the west were smaller, clear lakes gradiating teal along the shoreline to deep blue in the middle where it was deeper. While looking at them and enjoying how pretty they were, my mind kept repeating, “swim? swim? swim?” but we never got close enough. Trail tease…

Looking down off the crest to the east were bigger, darker blue lakes with a random “v” where a boat cruised along their surface. While looking at them, enjoying how pretty they were and imagining the people down there playing in and around the water with their well-stocked coolers, my mind kept repeating, “soda? food? beer?” but, yup – you got it – we never got close enough. Trail tease…

At one point I thought for sure I was smelling a grill going and thought just maybe we’d get close enough to try for a yogi, but the smell faded around the next corner. Sigh… it was just another smellucination. I get those a lot out here.

It’s okay, though. I like to swim, but I like to hike more… and besides, as we joke, it’s not called the Pacific Lakes Trail, or the Pacific Valley Trail, or the Pacific Directly Straight Trail. :)

I’m really enjoying the trees out here, still… I love the ones that droop right at the tippy-top. They remind me of a Dr. Seuss tree. There’s another kind that stands really straight and the branches all grow in level rings all the way to the top, almost perfectly. And finally, there’s the giant trees in the forests that are covered in limey-green lichen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled from admiring all the different trees, flowers, views, rock formations, and critters. I was chasing these awesome black and white butterflies today – they had me going in circles trying to get a photo of one, and I never did get one! It’s a new mission!

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The trees with the perfect branches in levels up the tree.

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A Dr. Seuss tree

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Lichen-covered trees

This section we’re in is turning out to be a difficult one to plan day-to-day like we’re used to. For example, today our maps highlighted a creek as a water source, so we planned on getting there for a break and to hydrate. On the way there we passed a few nicely-flowing springs, but not wanting to carry heavy water any further than we have to, we passed them by and made our way to the creek further down the trail. When we arrived, it was bone dry. Not knowing what was ahead, and knowing we’d be dry camping, we turned around and went back to the last spring. It was delicious, ice cold, crystal-clear water. I cameled up, carrying all I had capacity for, which is 3-1/2 liters. That’s about seven pounds – oy. Between there and where we ended up camping, we crossed about four more nice-flowing streams, none of which were listed on our maps. I was even studying the topo for blue lines and couldn’t see much for reliable water sources. There’s water out here, but not as much as we had in the high Sierras. We just need to get used to carrying more again… and hopefully we hit the streams better than we have been. Our timing’s just been a little off.

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Summit lake water source

Camping has been tough to find out here, too, but we always manage to squeak our tent into a little flat spot somewhere, which is kinda fun. We keep timing that weird, too, though – every night we end up climbing a fairly steep ascent just before camp when we’re tired and weighed down with water. I guess it’s good to have those climbs out of the way.

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Our cute little camp spot tonight

It felt good to get 24 miles in today, but my shoes are definitely done – my feet are telling me this loud and clear. Thankfully I have a new pair ready to go in the pickle jar, so in a few days I’ll be in shiny new Cascadias ready for more! I’m so excited!

A little lyric from my favorite song, because it kinda reminds me of hiking out here, and how I’m just gonna keep rollin’, even after this is over:

“Walkin’ on to another day, work a little harder, work another way.”  -Modest Mouse


Tonight I love my night light – the moon. It’s so bright and laying cool shadows on the tent walls.

A few more scenes from today:

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Weird random sign I thought was funny

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Hey, there's A Tree up ahead.

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Crazy ginormous-antenna bug

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Sunset flowers

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Prettiest lilly ever

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)

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