GREEN FOREST BLISS
PCT DAY 22: Monday July 17, 2017
Mile 2037.7 – Mile 2062.1
24.4 miles (39 km)
Yesterday was an almost perfect day, silence and stillness with misty views in the morning, a party atmosphere and great views in the foothills of Mt Jefferson in the afternoon followed by silence and stillnes in the evening with snow covered peak of Mt Hood coming into view. I had thoughts of making it to Ollalie Lake but decided to stop short in what looked like a great spot in a meadow. In the morning it was something else.
I woke to a sound of either a baby elephant calling or a distant train horn blowing. Even to my groggy half asleep brain neither of these seemed possible fir this location. The stars were still shining as was the moon and a super bright planet was visible just above the trees. The noise was near, it was not getting any closer. I figured it was most likely some sort of owl being active long before the birds started. By the time the rising sun washed out the stars the calling had stopped and did not return. I looked around the tent and realised I was sleeping in an ice cave. The interior of the tent was covered in ice crystals as was the top of my sleeping bag. Even my socks were frozen, something that has not happened since the Sierra section of our hike last year.
I readied myself for very cold packing, not looking forward to putting my hands on the frozen metal poles. Hammers warning about not rushing folding the poles were fresh in my mind as my hands got welded to the metal and quickly lost all feeling. In less then half an hour I broke camp, folded my icy tent into the top of my pack and by 5.30 headed off for the 6 miles hike to Ollalie Lake.
Within an hour of hiking, the sun was on my back, my hands were defrosted and I was ready to peel layers off. I passed several beautiful lakes on the way but nothing matched the beauty of Ollalie. I arrived just after the little shop opened at 8, got my coffee and a marshmallow biscuit not unlike the Australian Wagon Wheel. The gentleman working in the shop was very friendly commenting that there have not been many hikers through but trade is slowly picking up.
There was a table by the lake in full sun. I spread out my wet things to dry and set back to enjoy the view with my morning coffee. Ollalie Lake is simply stunning. A small lake backed by a distant peak of Mt Jefferson which this morning was reflected on the still waters of the lake. No motorised craft or swimming are allowed as the lake is used for drinking water. There is a swimming lake not far though. The few cottages nearby looked perfect for a quite holiday rental. Another lake to add to my must revisit list. I wished that I could have stayed longer but my things were dry and there were miles to make.
After leaving Ollalie Lake I entered a green forest for pretty much the rest of the day. While the forest offered no grand landscape vistas (except for two brief glimpses of Mt Hood at mile 2050 and 2059) or stunning floral displays, being green it offered cooling shade on a hot day, there were no mosquitoes, there was no snow and there were no blowdowns to navigate. And today that was a pretty blissful hiking day.