PCT Day 7: Wednesday July 20, 2022
Mile 2192.6 + 23.4 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 118miles/190 kilometres

Amazing what a difference a good  nights sleep makes. We woke to  brilliant red horizon framing Mt Adams to the north, with a half moon and a planet lit by the rising sun to the northeast. A beautiful bird orchestra in the forest below the moon was singing the  day awake. And so I was reminded, this is why we are doing this. Sights and sounds that make my spirit soar with joy. Some views are just harder earnt then others.

We broke camp and were on our way by 5.30. A beautiful breeze was blowing, flowers lined the early part of the trail, my knee felt great. It could not be more different to yesterday. When I was struggling yesterday, the thought that “just because it’s bad now, doesn’t mean it will be bad tomorrow” kept me going. Although there were moments when I didn’t care. The monkey of doubt whispering in my ear, doubting my ability, I just wanted the pain to stop. If I was a 5yr old I would have been lying down on the trail kicking and screaming with frustration. Not that it would have worked with Hammer anyway.  His quite confidence and  dependable manner are such a calming influence on me.

The morning miles felt easy. We talked about the power of words to shape our perceptions and in no time we reached the spring. We stopped for breakfast and to filter water.  We probably didn’t need to filter, as it was a spring, but we filter anyway, just in case.

Mosquitos were awake and hungry.
Approaching the first lake their numbers grew and their appetite  was voracious
And after swallowing a few mosquitos it was time to get the headnets on.  It reduced the attacks on the face but the buzzing was constant symphony on our way up and away from the lakes.

Halfway up the climb we had a bit of a breeze and stopped to admire the view of Mt Hood and the top of Mt Jefferson further to the south.  Mosquitos got quiter and we decided to stop for lunch before running the gauntlet at the approach to Blue Lake. It was a warm morning and by midday we were again running low on water.

Mr Hood and top of Mt Jefferson to the right
Mr Adams, we are walking towards it.
Mt St Helens

I had memories of huge numbers of mosquitos around Blue Lake but wasn’t sure what difference this late season snow would make. It was after 12pm when we reached the lake. Beautiful clear cold water which would be perfect for a swim on such a hot day. When we got to the lake a strong breeze was blowing keeping  the mosquitos away. But the breeze was not constant, it would stop and hundreds of hungry bloodsuckers would swarm around us. Too late we were committed to getting water here.  By the time Hammer finished  we made a very good blood donation to the local mosquito population.

From Blue Lake we were encountering snow patches and blowdowns in addition to mosquitos. Nothing too bad just slows you down a bit. The Avalanche Lillies were so prolific after the retreat of the snow. Their beauty more then made up for the other stuff.

The afternoon really started to heat up and we had the sun on our back most of the afternoon. Our clothes were soaked in sweat.  My knee was hurting, the mosquitos were not letting up and with the heat we decided to call it a day. We found a campsite about 5.30pm,  quickly got the tent up, got inside, killed hundreds of bloodsuckers that followed us in. We were again camped with Starman, with whom we camped last night.

As I lie here writing this, the mozzies are buzzing around, a distant sound of an aeroplane interrupts the buzzing. My knee is throbbing with pain at rest.  I think I’ve crossed the next level of my PT’s guidelines about how much to stress the knee. If it’s still painful in the morning we may go into Trout Lake tomorrow to rest and reasses. Hammer suggested that maybe we should quit the trail altogether at Trout Lake. While it is the most sensible decision, hot tears of disappointment welled up in my eyes. This length of hiking was always ambitious considering our fitness and my injury.  The best section of trail, the section we originally planned to hike, is coming up over the next 60 miles. I was upset with myself for getting carried away and  expanding our original plan.

There is  still quite a bit of snow up ahead. So it would make sense to take time off, rest my knee and have more time for the snow to melt, if we do proceed.  We’ll see how we feel tomorrow and decide.