23.9 miles (Miles 2310.2 – 2334.1)
Pipe Lake – Sheep Lake
Tears and I sometimes will hike a couple of sections of trail and hardly see another PCT thru hiker. Then we’ll hit a section like this. We found ourselves in the middle of a bubble of thrus, and it’s a really great bubble! We know all these hikers and love them all… it’s been a really fun day – very social and very scenic.
Last night we camped at Pipe Lake with Sensei and Rotisserie, whom we haven’t seen in months. I woke up a few times in the night to the sound of an elk bugle – whether it was a real elk or a hunter’s call, I’m not sure, but either way, it sure sounded cool. Tears and I were packed up and out of camp before Sensei and Rotisserie were up.
I admitted to myself this morning that I am sick of oatmeal. I never thought it would happen. I even switched from instant packets to my own mix with ground nuts, dark chocolate chips, toasted coconut and brown sugar. I know… yum, right!? I nearly gagged while eating the last half of it. Tears said she looked over at me at one point and I was just sitting there staring at it. I’m pretty sad, especially because that’s what I have packed for breakfasts to get me to Canada. I’m going to try again tomorrow. I might be crazy.
The morning hike brought us past a lot of little ponds surrounded by green meadows, and I kept hoping to see some elk at the shorelines, but they must be hunkered down in the warm weather (some elk bow hunters told us that’s what they do). Rut starts in a few days, so I guess we might have a better chance at seeing some. We sure are seeing a lot of nice hunters!
As we approached a stream where we planned to get water and take a break, we came up over a hill to a big group of hikers! Hunny Bunny jumped up and gave us both a big hug right away. What a great greeting! Wokka Wokka, Giddyup, Bramble, Haggis, Running Commentary, Boo Boo Kitty Soft Paws, Sunshine, Kudu, Alphabet Soup and Treekiller were also there! How exciting! We sat down for a break and I opened my Dr. Pepper that I carried in and didn’t realize it was shook up. I spilled half of it all over my lap – after nearly faceplanting into a tree after tripping on a stick. I was so clumsy today!
After getting water and hiking on, we came to a ridge, climbed some switchbacks and around a bend, and we were suddenly greeted with a giant, snowy Mt. Rainier. It just keeps getting closer and more majestic! I keep imagining what it must be like to climb it… maybe one day I will.
We hiked and chatted with Haggis and Running Commentary for most of the afternoon, and they’re really awesome. It was nice to get to know them a little better. We joined in on their fun idea of creating a PCT video game, so we talked about all kinds of ideas! We also did a lot of stopping to pick blueberries, all while enjoying some amazing scenery and pushing up some hot, steep climbs. The day was already flying by!
Then we came to Chinook Pass, a road, and a parking lot. In that parking lot was an SUV with a sign that read “trail angel” and a cheering, friendly, welcoming lady. It was Brooke! She’s been following blogs and setting up trail magic to meet some of us! I got a message from her, and I hoped we’d connect! What a wonderful treat to meet another blog reader! She had sodas, beers, homemade cookies, and delicious taco soup with chips, sour cream and cheese! It was SO good! Thank you, Brooke!!
While we lounged around drinking sodas and eating soup, Fun Size came strolling in! I haven’t seen him on trail since the desert, I think. We did see him in Trout Lake, but we weren’t sure if he was ahead or behind us. Then Rocks came in, too! I haven’t seen Rocks in a long time either! Reunions out here are always fun and worthy of big hugs… even if we are smelly hikers.
We all continued a couple more miles in to Sheep Lake. We are camped in a little community of tents up a small hill from the lake. All the people from our earlier break are here, too… probably 15 of us or so. We had a nice time cooking dinner with everyone and laughing at suggestions for Friday the 13th-themed Fake Name Friday names for everyone. They were all pretty scary… and pretty hilarious.
Tonight I love this trail community. Every person out here makes this journey even more special than I could have ever imagine it being.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!