PCT Day 8: Thursday July 21, 2022
Mile 2216 + 24 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 142 miles/228.5 kilometres

I was so happy to wake up with no pain at all.  My knee felt great so I was relieved that I hadn’t crossed the next step in my PTs guidelines. The advice was that if pain lingers into the following day, then I’ve done too much and need to take days off from activity to recover. We decided not to go into Trout Lake today, we will continue to White Pass but will hike shorter days if terrain and campsite availability allow.  We agreed to take a couple of days rest at White Pass. I remember they had lovely accommodation. Although, as we are discovering, our memory is not a sharp tool.

Morning miles do come easy no matter how hard yesterdays finish.  The mosquitos were hovering around the tent awaiting their morning feast.  As annoying as they are the sting of their bite is transient. So you accept it and with acceptance it becomes less annoying. Although it is early days with us and Washingtons mosquitos. I’m sure our equanimity will be sorely tested.

We broke camp and were on our way just before 6. We shared the site with another hiker we first met going into Eagle Creek, trail name Starman. We seem to be hiking similar distances although we start earlier, he hikes quicker. We tried to be quite while packing up but its hard as almost everything we have crinkles when moved.  No coffee for me this morning as it was impossible with the hovering hordes just waiting for us to unzip the fly.

The forest we hiked through in the morning was pleasant, cool and healthy looking. My happy bird song bid us a good morning.

We made great time for the 3.5 miles to Mosquito Creek. I remembered camping here on my hike and there being no mosquitos despite the name. This morning was different, we filtered water while making a blood donation to the local mosquito population.

From the creek the morning got cooler with lots of condensation at ground level. Wild strawberry plants lined the trail. It will be a feast for some lucky hikers later in the season.  Here we also met our first southbound hiker. A tall, lean Scandinavian with long legs, no trail name yet as he has not met any southbounders.   He had a big smile on his face knowing the snow was behind him. 

The mosquitos were a constant companion, changing in density as we hiked. The morning  was pleasant and hiking felt easy. As the morning warmed up and the trail started to go uphill hiking started to feel laboured and conversation slowed.  A nice downhill followed to FS-23 – the road to Trout Lake – at Mile 2230. We stopped for lunch at the nearby nicely flowing Salmon River. Mosquitos were around but not approaching us. I wondered if it was all the DEET we’d sprayed over ourselves keeping them at bay.

Amazing how much better I felt this morning. Hammer on the other hand laboured with the hills early on, coming good after lunch and powering away.

Afternoon hiking was through a huge burn area with views of Mt Hood to the south and Mt Rainier to the north as we wound our way up towards Mt Adams. Spring flower dotted the forest floor which gave me lots of distraction. The most gorgeous butterflies dotted the blooms, spring has sprung. We met a couple of Trout Lake locals out for a day hike with their dog. They were apologising for the blowdowns not having been cleared. Nothing to apologise for, it’s a privilege just to be here.

Mt Rainier
Mt Hood to the south

The trail appeared to climb towards  Mt Adams and just as it appears to  continue on up the mountain it swings away and continues north along the base. Not a huge amount of snow on Mt Adams although there was plenty of patchy snow covering the trail. Hammer found the afternoon hiking effortless while I was just happy that my knee felt OK and there was so much beauty all around. 

View of Mr Rainier before the trail descended into forest

It was a relief to reach our campsite just before 6pm. We got the  tent set up and scrambled inside before losing too much blood. We spent the next 15 minutes swatting the bloodthirsty suckers. It felt amazing to get horizontal and relax with plenty of daylight still left. As darkness fell hundreds of frogs serenaded us to sleep. It was bliss.