PCT Day 17. Saturday July 30, 2022
Mile 2471 + 23.5 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 298.5 miles /477.5 kilometres

Putting on sweat soaked and still wet clothes against warm skin on a surprisinly cool morining was a little  bit uncomfortable. The discomfort didn’t last long and the cool of the morning didn’t deter the hungry hoardes waiting for us outside the Big Agnes Hilton. 

Packed and our way by 5.30, it was a buggy couple of hours to Janus Lake. We were pleased we didn’t continue to this lake last night.

It was nice to leave the lakes and start the long slow ascent towards Grizzly Peak. Getting closer to the top, the reward for the sweaty labour was in  front of us, a magnificent view towards  Glacier Peak where we are  heading over the next couple of days. As the trail wound around the summit we had spectacular views towards the south with the peak of Mt Rainier  getting more visible as we rose.

We made the Grizzly Mountain summit mid-morning and stopped for a short break. It was shorter then we wished, voracious mosquitos were driving us to move on.

As we left the top, the only sound we could hear was the buzzing of industrious bees  in the rising heat of the morning. From Grizzly Peak we had a long pleasant descent, largely shaded with views over Top Lake to our right.  We passed a few southbound through hikers over the morning, most in great spirits as they begin their journey. Just short of Pear Lake we noticed absence of mosquitos and decided to stop for a most pleasant lunch break in the woods.

After lunch it was an uphill slog in the sun towards Pear Lake. Lucky we didn’t need to go down  to the lake for water, as it was a long way down. We are hoping there is a seasonal stream a mile ahead, what water we have left was almost too warm to drink. It was hot, especially a segment through a huge granite boulder field which still held snow in patches despite the heat above.  The boulders are so precariously balanced they look like they would tumble with a smallest tremor.

The fun stopped soon after as we entered a section of trail exposed to the sun. We were struggling.  Our water got so warm it was hard to drink. We slowly plugged along not speaking until Hammer broke –  “this is crazy, to be hiking in this heat and exposed to the sun”. I agreed but what can you do – just keep walking, hope there is some shade ahead.  Luckly we soon passed a patch of snow. Grabbing handfuls and running it on our arms and neck. Filling our hats with snow which slowly melted as we walked – it was a circuit breaker. We continued to do this everytime we passed any snow.

We made it to the other side of a valley and took a break in the shade with a wonderful cooling breeze blowing. A shaded descent to a lovely creek and we were re-energise. And we needed to be as we had a 4.5 mile uphill hike to the lovely Sally Anne Lake.

All afternoon while slogging along  in the heat all I could think about was going  for a swim in the lake. I regretted not swimming in this beautiful, and from memory mosquito free, lake when I hiked here in 2017.

When we finally got to the lake it was late in the day. It was just as beautiful as I remembered. A small lake backed by a huge granite rock wall. It was disappointing to see that the lake had only recently thawed and still had ice and snow around the edges.  Not deterent  we still went  in for a quick dip. As expected it was icy cold. Hammer saw some trout jumping out of the water. We were invigorated by the icy plunge, this could become addictive. My feet are still tingling from the cold but it felt great after the sweat and almost tears today.