COLD AND PICKLED FEET
PCT Day 144: Mile 2504.3 – Mile 2529.0
Sunday September 4, 2016: 24.7 miles (39.5km)
Throughout the night there was a tinkling sound on the tent fly, fortunately it was pine needles and not rain. This did not mean the tent was dry as it was such a cold night that the condensation on the inside of the fly was high and water droplets had formed.
When I woke in the morning, although there was a lot of heavy cloud, thankfully the rain had stopped and it stayed this way for most of the day. I continued to wear rain pants as the vegetation remained moist and the shoes and socks were wet almost immediately.
The first bridged river crossing was very milky as a result of the glacier higher up the valley. It is a bit surreal to see a river of milk flowing down the valley.
The forest was dark like in the evening rather than at 7.30 in the morning and almost felt like a head torch was required. I passed two section hikers with enormous packs, they would have given Cheryl Strayed of Wild fame a competition for the biggest and heaviest pack. They even had walkie talkies.
There were quite a few trees down in this section, which are often difficult to navigate around and care must be taken to avoid injury. So I am thankful for every sawn tree on the side of the path and there are thousands of them. It means in many cases carrying hand tools in and sawing and then moving these enormous lumps of cut logs. A heartfelt thank you from this hiker to both the volunteers in the trail crews and the PCTA for coordinating the work.
The trail dropped down from a pass and their was a small milky lake and a large boulder field . The trail continued down and Mica Lake came into view. It was the most amazing turquoise colour and the clarity of the water was superb. The lake released some of its water through a narrow outlet which then cascaded with a roar down the valley below due to the steepness of the slope. The trail on the other hand had many switchbacks.
It was also possible to see some of the trail on the other side of the valley and it also seemed to have many switchbacks. Once up and over the climb it was a matter of finding water as unlike the descent which seemed to have water at every turn, the ascent had none. I walked past 2 campsites but needed water to cook with. It was getting dark when the first creek appeared. So under torch light I filled my water containers and in the next mile a dozen creeks were crossed to get to the campsite. Eventually I made camp under torch light at 9pm. Every mile was hard earned today with the two big climbs.
Marmots are funny critters, they are about the size of wombats and seem to live in colonies. They make a whistling sound when you approach them. I learnt if you whistle back they get quite confused. Today when this occurred, one of the marmots was right in the middle of the trail. I am guessing that it thought it might encounter another marmot but when it looked up and saw me it bolted off what appeared an almost vertical drop down to a secluded burrow.