Day 91: Hiking to Ireland (Lake)…

Day: Sunday, August 28th 2016
Miles: 1904.1 – 1928.1
Shelter Cove 1904.1 – Remote Camp Ireland Lake 1928.1
Enjoying the chance for a shower at the wonderful wood scented shower block in Shelter Cove was definitely a highlight to the morning today, although the myriad of coffees in the resort store was a close second. I enjoyed a microwaved burrito for breakfast and generally enjoyed the view. It was cool and crisp today, but the bluest of blues was reflecting on the lake. I recharged and wrote some blog posts before finally deciding it was time to move on. I bought some Ibuprofen that ActionJackson had texted me an order for. He had continued on the PCT and was not intending to hit Shelter Cove itself (the trail passed a little to the west of the resort). As usual the dilly-dallying of a morning in civilization caused a late departure, and myself and FlyBy were back on the PCT a little after noon.

Bumping into some trail celebrities including the legendary Anish! These ladies were attempting the fastest unsupported PCT completion, aiming southbound.


It was to be a boring morning in the trees for the most part, as the PCT wound north through a series of ridges and past a very busy road (we had to run across 4 lanes!), before re-entering the woods. It was a hot hot day and by the time we reached the Rosario lakes, FlyBy took a dip whilst a bunch of hikers (myself, ActionJackson, Sherwin, Fire Hazard, Pancake man and a few others), took a break in the shade.
Eventually the trail began to rise over a series of higher ridges, the terrain being under tree cover, but the topsoil was mostly a bone dry dusty layer. We eventually explored the beautiful Maiden Peak shelter raised by the local XC ski club, and took a break for a while.
Passing a single notable high-point with views to the east and west, the trail stayed in the trees for the most part, and passed a series of pretty ponds and lakes, the mosquito levels rising to irritable levels so I donned my bug-net. At this point FlyBy had continued on ahead so I enjoyed the spectacle and views in solo.
I was quite excited to pass the Eugene To Pacific Crest Trail cutoff at one point. I have a few friends living in Eugene and didn’t realize there was a trail linkage from there.
As the evening wore on, some beautiful colors began to form as the sun set. I walked through a stark, barren and beautiful burn zone, the colors and the trees bearing the signs of a recent trauma, but the colors so gentle and delicate that they wore some of the starkness from the landscape. I stood and watched and consumed the silence a number of times, just wallowing in the serenity and the peacefulness.
I slowed my pace in order to catch the sunset, and wasn’t disappointed with the spectacle.
Resuming my pace, I hiked for a while after dark, with a plan to camp at Ireland Lake. It seemed appropriate that I should!
Eventually arriving to the lake around 9PM, I was a little surprised that this significantly remote area had many signs of human activity. A dirt road passed close by, and a dusty trail-head parking lot along with signs of recent abandoned camp fires punctuated the void. There was spent fireworks littering one part of the area along with trash of varying forms.  The lake waters lapped gently as I tried to find a camp spot, only to find that someone in an ATV, SUV or large vehicle had driven some donuts through a once-beautiful lakeside meadow by the trail-head, now ruined with muddy tracks and deep gouged treads. I found a spot away from the water, and sheltered by trees in the case that someone decided to rip through the area again in a vehicle. Despite the pleasant sound of water in the distance, I didn’t feel comfortable staying here tonight, but it was late, and the next camp area at Brahma Lake was more miles than I could pull out of the bag, so I settled-in and cooked some dinner.

Watching to logs bobbing in Ireland Lake

4 thoughts on “Day 91: Hiking to Ireland (Lake)…

  1. When I hiked that burn area in 2013 it was during the heaviest rain/lightning storm I’ve ever been in which was crazy to be in an exposed area like that. I’ve never felt so alive. (And glad I stayed that way!)

    Cool to meet Anish (She set the FKT for the Arizona Trail about a month ago in case you missed that)


    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure I’d enjoy that experience! It was an enormous burn, but as I noticed back before Crater Lake, the unique thing about Oregon is that the trees were already aggressively reestablishing themselves. The growth rate in the PNW is quite incredible.


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