SKY LAKES WILDERNESS
PCT DAY 108: Mile 1764.5 – Mile 1789.5
Saturday July 30, 2016: 25 miles (40km)
DISPATCH FROM THE BIG AGNES HILTON
I woke early realising that I have complete 2/3 of the PCT. There was a sign near Brown Mountain hut which stated this, with distance to Canada and Mexico indicated. Corky would have had a photo but alas I forgot to take one in my eagerness to get to the trail magic.
I had to cross the lava fields today and another hot day is predicted so I was on the trail by 6am to avoid the heat later in the day.
The lava fields are quiet dramatic. They are basically rivers of lava with boulders the size of cars amongst smaller rocks which are black in colour. The trail makers have done an amazing job to get a trail through. It was like a paved path that had been smoothed with red volcanic pumice stone. Quite impressive.
A cyclist came through on the path and of course I stopped for a chat. Like me he was a teacher and like so many people you meet, it would have been great to continue the conversation but there was hiking to be done.
I crossed Highway 140 which leads down to Fish Lake Resort. I filtered some water and then started up the hill. There were many trees which had been blown down across the trail meaning it was over, around or limbo under the trees. At times it was down on hands and knees to get through. Near the top of the climb I met a man with a pair of garden shears. It seemed like a chainsaw would have been more appropriate. It turns out he was the Trail Angel responsible for the Shasta Cola and chairs between the Oregon border and Ashland. He goes by the trail name Inquisitor and he did ask lots of questions. So nice to meet a Trail Angel who stocks a cache and to thank them in person.
The afternoon was a tough slog with endless blowdowns around which I had to navigate. It really makes me appreciate the excellent work the trail maintenance crews perform to keep most of the trail clear for the other 2,650 miles.
The mosquito were also out in force and would quickly find any spot you may have missed with the insect repellent. They also had a disconcerting habit of buzzing in your ear and trying to dive into your eyes.
After several nights of being too warm it was quite a cool this evening and I am ready to snuggle into the sleeping bag.
CORKY – FROM THE RECOVERY LOUNGE
The first rays of morning light were casting a shadow of the Venetian blinds across the wall. Confused about why the tent had blinds I reached across to wake Hammer, only to realise that he was not there. Suddenly wide awake I remember I was not in the tent anymore. I was in a gloriously comfortable bed that, unlike my sleeping mat, did not squik when I rolled over. I wondered if Hammer was enjoying all that extra tent space. I wondered if he missed the smell of my morning coffee. I am certainly missing sitting up in my sleeping bag, coffee in hand, watching the sun rise and the world come alive. It is really the only time on the whole of our PCT hike that I could be still. I aways wanted that half hour in the morning to last just a little bit longer. But PCT hiking was like a job, you have to get up and you have to get going. It was no hardship, I loved that job and I miss not being able to do it for now.