27.0 miles (Miles 1960.5 – 1987.5)
Horse Creek Trail – Small lake at mile 1987.5
I don’t even know what to say about today… I’m kind of at a loss for words, but I will try. I guess I can start by saying that today was the best day on the PCT so far, as views, trails, skies and diversity goes. I really didn’t think anything could outdo Muir Pass in the high Sierras, but I think today did, by a sliver. I am admittedly a little surprised. I didn’t have any idea that one stretch in the middle of Oregon would beat out a day in the Sierras, but it happened!
I think what made it the most special was the diversity of everything I encountered. The terrain changed drastically throughout the day, the trails went from easy to hard and back again, up and down, and winding all over, the weather was hot and sunny, then partly cloudy, then sunny and cold, then the wind kicked up, the sky changed constantly all day long, we saw no PCT thru hikers, but many knowledgable and very friendly locals enjoying their backcountry home, there were mountains with snow on them, low clouds blanketing peaks, meadows, lush and green forests, blue layered mountains off in the distance, a few wildflowers, springs, streams, lakes, lava rock, every color imaginable, a beautiful sunset, and to top it all off, a short personal moment right at the end of the day that made me cry… of happiness… fulfillment… satisfaction. I felt like God handed me nearly everything I hoped to see on this whole trip – in one single day. I was overwhelmed, to put it lightly. I want to somehow just transport every morsel of what I took in today and put it here, in words, so I can come back and revisit it, remember it and feel it, as well as share it all with anyone reading – I sometimes feel like the more successful I am at sharing it all, the better it becomes.
So here’s my idea… I took the most photos in one day today than ever before on this hike – 180. And since I’m having a hard time really describing it all (I think that might just be that there was so much to see), maybe I just do it through some of those photos…
The morning sun shining through a hemlock full of lichen.
A cairn on top of Koosah Mountain.
The first view of South Sister Mountain.
The coolest toad ever! He was white and gray!
Trail Party! Goal Tech (in the hat) came down the trail towards me and says, “Toots Magoots!” It turns out he’s following my blog, was out for a hike with David (with the bandana), and hoped to run in to me. It’s always so freakin’ cool to run into someone following me on here! He gave us some trail magic, too. A Snickers bar, some peanut butter pretzels, mango and dried coconut! Thank you!
Mirror Lake. Appropriately named…
…and the shore was lined with these! Yum!
More incredible forest-walking.
A meadow with a closer view of South Sister.
Even the crickets can’t help but to love it up out here! Haha!
Another fantastic view, complete with my favorite shades af greens against a killer blue sky.
Wine and Cheese. I loved these guys. Wine says to us, “You’ve got one booger of a climb coming up…” He was right, too!
Meadow, hemlocks, blue sky, puffy clouds… the stuff dreams are made of.
There was obsidian all over for a few miles, glistening in the sunshine, smooth like glass.
Beautiful Obsidian Falls!
A scramble up the steep hill gave me a closer look, and a few drops of refreshing water on my face.
Flowers by the creek that flows over Obsidian Falls. The water here tasted incredible! Spring-fed from the Sisters, perhaps?
More shiny obsidian.
Lava. Just the very beginning of one of the best parts of today. I pictured a flat field of lava rock for some reason… instead, it was rivlets, canyons and mountains of it!
Lava rocky trails. Extremely challenging for the feet, but so incredibly awesome I didn’t even care.
Lava mountains we were about to climb. This would be that “booger of a climb” Wine was talking about.
Kind of a cheesy thought, but it felt neat to feel rock that was once molten-hot magma from waaay down below the earth’s surface. Powerful…
Basically a ridge of lava rock. Great views from up here, too!
Then the sky got crazy-gorgeous, too.
So many awesome dimensions of color, light, terrain and sky.
The afternoon light hit, and everything green lit up vibrantly against the blue sky.
South Mattheiu Lake with late sun-glow dancing on the surface. It was windy and quite cold here!
As the sun set amongst a variety of differently-shaped and colored clouds, I fell into my short moment of spiritual bliss. This is one of the places Muir Pass wins – I was in that fluid, spiritual state for at least an hour there, but if I’d have had more time…
And with that, as I lie here in my tent reflecting on an amazing day, I sign off with a whisper… “Thank you, God.”
Tonight I love… today. All of it.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!