PCT Day 112 – Thursday August 3
Mile 1518.6 to Mile 1539.7
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 21.1
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1152.2
Feet Ascended Today: 2575
Feet Descended Today: 2318
Current Elevation: 6905.8
I’m laying on my foam pad next to Lower Deadfall Lake watching the ripples in the water. I went for a quick dip in the lake to wash off the sweat and grime that has coated my body for the past two days. There were a few day hikers here when I arrived, but they’ve hiked out and I’m by myself.
It was another hot day today. The weather forecast was for over 100 degrees in Dunsmuir, although I don’t think it got quite that hot up here in the mountains. It was still really hot, though, and I struggled in the morning as the trail continued to climb in elevation – although thankfully the incline wasn’t nearly as steep as yesterday. I kept thinking about Deadfall Lake and that kept me motivated to keep going. I wanted to go for a swim!!
When I got to the lake I jumped in and washed the dirt off my feet and legs. The water was warm and felt heavenly. I noticed that a cloud had moved in front of the sun and the temperature had dropped a little. It was a welcome change from the high temperatures of the past few days but now that I was swimming it was the one time I would have actually enjoyed the warmer temperatures.
The sky darkened and started rumbling. I could see the splash of the occasional raindrop into the lake. I finally occurred to me that I might get rained on. Ruh roh. Guess who is currently hiking without rain gear? In the three months that I’ve hiked so far, I have only gotten sprinkled on once or twice (although I did get snowed on once) and I’ve carried my rain gear every single day. Given the heat wave that was forecast I decided to bounce my rain gear forward to Ashland. I was trying to lighten my load as the medication I’m taking for my ulcerative colitis is cumbersome and heavy. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Thankfully the storm passed quickly and the few sprinkles never really developed into rain where I was at. Another hiker who was only one or two miles behind told me he got hailed on.
When I arrived at the lake it was mid-afternoon and I had already hiked 15 miles. I *really* wanted to hit 20 miles today so I soldiered on around 5:00 pm. The clouds cleared up and the sun came out as I hiked away.
When I hit 20 miles I looked around and saw that there was no place to camp. The trail hugged the side of a ridge and the hill sloped steeply both above and below the trail. My map did not show an established campsite for another 4 miles, but I’ve stealth camped in plenty of spots before that were not on the map. So I kept going. I was dead tired and was almost ready to lay down on the trail when I finally found a sort of level spot another mile along the trail down the hill. I had to clear out all the sticks and brush and my tent is super slanty but I can make it work.
As I set up my tent I noticed that ants were *everywhere*. Ugh. I got inside the bug netting of my tent as quickly as possible and spent the next 10 minutes hunting down the ones that made it inside my tent.
I checked the weather forecast on my DeLorme and was surprised to see that there was a 10% chance of rain overnight and for the next few days. Tomorrow’s high temperature was forecast to be 79 degrees and the day after only 69 degrees. That’s a far cry from the 100+ degrees that I was expecting. It will be much easier to hike with the cooler weather, so that’s a relief, but I wish I had my raingear. I reluctantly set up my rainfly – the first time in months – and reminded myself that if it does rain while I’m hiking I could always drape my tent fly over my head. It was strange to sleep with the rainfly blocking my view of the moon and stars. It felt unnatural after so many months of looking at the sky as I fell asleep.