PCT Day 130 – Monday August 21
Mile 1876.1 to Mile 1895.3
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 19.2
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1426.4
Feet Ascended Today: 3099
Feet Descended Today: 2102
Current Elevation: 6933
I awoke in the middle of night from a dream about having to go back to high school. I got up and relieved my bladder but it took over an hour for me to go back to sleep. So I let myself sleep in a little. Thankfully, I wasn’t in a big hurry this morning because I only planned to hike 3 miles to the top of a ridge to watch the eclipse.
I broke camp around 7:30 am and reached the ridge around 9:00 am. The ridge afforded sweeping views of the valley below, as well as some distant lakes that were barely visible through the haze of smoke from forest fires. Cowhorn Mountain loomed from the north end of the ridge. I pulled out my eclipse glasses and was surprised to see that the eclipse had already started! It looked like a tiny nibble had been taken out of the upper right-hand corner of the sun.
It took about a full hour for the eclipse to reach its totality here in Central Oregon. The eclipse slowly got larger, with the small nibble turning into a bigger and bigger bite out of the sun. After about 45 minutes it started to get a little darker and the temperature started to drop. It didn’t get fully dark as I was not in the path of the 100% totality, but it felt like twilight was falling when the eclipse reached its zenith. Just a tiny sliver of sunlight was visible when I looked through my eclipse glasses.
I hit the trail while the full sunlight was returning. I was at over 7000 feet and it was cold, so I wanted to get the blood moving again so I could warm up. I hiked downhill through a forest and came to Summit Lake in early afternoon. I noticed the mosquitoes got progressively worse the closer I got to the lake. It was a big lake with a view of the Diamond Mountains in the background. I found a nice spot where a peninsula jutted out into the lake and the mosquitoes weren’t as bad. I waded into the lake to rinse off and washed my socks and underpants. It felt good to clean up.
After a lunch break, the trail followed the edge of the lake for a mile or so and then went past a number of small ponds. The mosquitoes were the WORST next to the ponds. I even got out my head net. After a few more miles uphill, the trail broke through the trees and suddenly came out right in the middle of the Diamond Peaks. The mountains loomed majestically all around me, with snow still clinging to the slopes of the mountains. I was engrossed in an audiobook (I’m listening to “Ender in Exile” by Orson Scott Card) but I turned off the book to focus on soaking in the scenery. Smoke dimmed the clarity of the view but it was still amazing.
I stopped at Mountain Creek around 6:30 pm to get water and I decided to cook some dinner – tonight I made ramen with tuna. My appetite was back and I was glad to see that I was still hungry after dinner so I ate a Clif Bar. That’s a really good sign. I was feeling so much better than I was a few days ago when I had a gurgley tummy.
I met a couple of Southbound hikers over dinner and we chatted for a while – Mary Poppins and Trippers (or was it Tappers? Hm. I can’t remember). It was nice to meet other hikers. I’ve been running into a lot of SoBos the last couple of weeks who have started at the Northern Terminus. It’s that time of year when the northbound and southbound through-hikers cross paths.
After dinner I hiked for another 1.3 miles until I came to a campsite. It was getting dark as I set up. I hadn’t even hiked 20 miles today as I had taken a long break to watch the eclipse but I didn’t mind. It was only 8.8 miles to the junction with Shelter Cove Resort. I have a package arriving there tomorrow and I may not be able to leave there anyway until the mail arrives. No sense rushing today.
It was nice to go to bed when I wasn’t totally exhausted. I feel like longer miles are coming a little easier but part of that is because I’m hiking in Oregon. It is easier to do longer miles here – the elevation profile is so much easier than in Washington and California. The climbs and descents are much more gradual and tend to be smaller. A girl could get used to this.