Pacific Crest Trail – Day 97 (32 miles)
The mice were terrible last night. I eventually took a tie out off my tarp to hang my food just so they would leave me alone. The food tied only a foot away from a branch seemed to work great. Even in the morning, when I took the food down, there were 5 mice taking turns sprinting for my food bag. Leave me alone, I’m up!
I felt a lot better today. I seemed to be over the unknown illness that plagued me last night.
The first mission was follow a river up stream. The river seemed to use the trail for large sections. This created a boggy trail, with overgrown bushes and so many downed trees.
It was slow going but only lasted a few miles before the trail crossed the river proper and took off up the ridge. This was a steep climb and really set the theme for the day. Today I have both 11,000ft (3,300m) up and down, meaning there would be very little flat walking today.
By the time I reached the top my shirt was sweaty but the Northern Cascades opened up before me. This place truly is an alpine wonderland. Wide, green glacial carved valleys stood below steep rocky and often snow capped peaks. I love Washington.
Unfortunately soon after the smoke haze rolled in so thick that I could not even see the next ridge across. I wondered were the fire was? Is it still the smoke from the huge Canadian fire? I was a little bummed from this development.
I had a short traverse along the ridge to Mica Lake. Now I have a new favorite lake along the trail! I sat down in front of the super clear water and eat lunch.
There were a couple of groups of section hikers. They were stark contrasts of each other. One of them was laid back, while a lady in the other had the most energy I’ve ever seen in not only an adult, but someone old enough to be retired.
She was intrigued by what I carried, but would ask another question before I had time to finish my first answer. It was rather entertaining.
Saying goodbye, I descended to Milk Creek. As I descended I watched the switchbacks on the other side go straight up a near vertical wall for almost 3,000ft (1km).
It is the biggest / steepest climb of the whole trail.
I got to the bottom and began my third and last climb of the day. It actually went rather well. I enjoyed the mission to power up it as fast as I could.
I reached the top about an hour later and sat down in one of the densest blueberry patches I’ve seen. I eat a heap, but also collected some to add into my dinner tonight.
Now it was time to drop into the valley. I spend the last few hours of day light plunging down into the valley.
With an hour to go I started to feel the fatigue of all the climbing today, but I convinced myself to push on to the river.
Arriving at the river I ended up camping with so many others. It was late and I set up camp, talked with a couple for 10 minutes and then went to bed.