Day: Wednesday, 14th September 2016
Miles: 2194.1 – 2226.5
Volcanic Outflow Remote Site 2194.1 – Trout Lake Access Road Remote Site 2226.5
There’s nothing like getting back into your groove. After a week building up a distinctly odd hiking routine, ranging from a 50 miler to Zeros, Neros and something in between, I yearned to get back to my 25-30 mile per-day happy place. Waking at 7AM to another day of sunshine, I was excited that distractions would be kept to a minimum today, and I might make the Trout Lake access road, around 30 miles distant. That would put me back on track with my plan, which after many edits would put me finishing up around October 1st. I started hiking at 8AM with a jaunty step.
This morning was sunny and beautiful once again. The morning light here is just incredible. There hasn’t been a cloud in the sky for the past few days and the colors are just so vivid it inspires you out of bed, even with the chilly morning air. My little camp was nested in a shadow off-trail, so it was even a little chillier than it could be in a sunny aspect. I must remember to think of these things in future (and took note of the compass point for sunrise so I could line it up better tomorrow).
I completed the final mile to the trail head on one of the forest access roads to Trout Lake. Enjoying the luxury of a fabulously clean vault toilet, I then read the interesting notice board for the Indian Heaven Wilderness, the next wilderness on the PCT’s long list of pristine untouched areas, and one that would carry me to the foot of Mt.Adams.
The morning light also produced some incredible reflections in the frequent lakes that I passed. Most of these lakes were a little brackish in nature, or too cold to swim in, so I decided that I would hold off on any skinny dipping for a bit!
Sadly no other sheep to be found, other than Bernard of course.
I was tempted to check out the lookout, but managed to avoid the temptation in chasing PCT miles!
Hitting the 2200 mark was another little fun moment this morning!
Rising to a high ridge after a morning of meandering alongside lakes below the hills around, I finally reached a Huckleberry bush that had not been raided by bears or humans! These were perfectly ripe and so tasty!
Progressing northwards on the ridge, and I finally caught a glimpse of Mt.St.Helens to the west, its broken top a sign of the incredible events of 1980. At another point I could see Mt.Hood and Mt.Jefferson, by this point far off to the south, and likely one of the last views of them that I would get.
A little after receiving the bonus view of Mt.St.Helens, I kept searching to the northwest to see if Mt.Rainier might show itself. The picture below is as close it I got, a tiny smidgen of one of its summit glaciers peeking behind the ridge ahead! I must say I had some huge energy and enthusiasm to push forward today, if nothing else in the hope that I might see Mt.Rainier up close finally.
Can you spot the tiny smidgen of Mt.Rainier in the distance?!
The trail finally started to follow the ridge line to the northeast towards Mt.Adams, and so with my hopes of Rainier dashed, I focused my attentions on the next best thing, who doesn’t love these volcanoes…!
In a number of places, I had seen signs for Mushroom Permits Required, when entering the wilderness. I certainly did not expect to see such a huge variety of mushrooms an funghi. This forest seemed to have a little of everything.
Pushing further into the evening, and I met up with Powder, Moonshine, Handsome and their dog. I hadn’t seen Handsome and Moonshine in a long time so it was good to catch up. Their dog was also in great spirits and obviously enjoying the cooler temperatures and abundant water here there and everywhere.
As the evening stretched on, I opted to hike late after sunset, and managed to make it all the way to the Trout Access Road by 8:45PM. As I approached camp, some hikers were chatting with a fire. I lay camp as quietly as I could, seeing that some hikers were already in bed, but I was surprised that I did not recognize any of the faces around the fire. This surprised me as I had been playing catch-up all day (in my head), given my Zero day, and hoped I would catch up to people here. I guess not! The joys of not having cell coverage!
2194.1 @ 8AM (START)
2200.0 @ 10:30AM
2214.1 @ 4:00PM
2226.5 @8:45PM (END)