Woke up a couple of times during the night and finally decided to get up around four am. Like yesterday I packed up my stuff and had breakfast a bit later to not disturb the others. Unfortunately, I had gotten too early again and was too sleepy to walk. Tried a power nap which worked well despite the fact that I didn’t sleep that much.
When the sun rose it revealed today to be the smokiest one yet. It did clear up a lot in the morning hours, which was very nice. After a short stretch the trail went into a unique landscape that I hadn’t really seen before. Here were sections where it looked like huge volcanic rocks had been flowing down the mountain as if it was a dark grey river. Here and there groups of or single trees and bushes had found root and looked like islands in the river. On top of the rocks was the trail, which here was made with brown/reddish gravel and dirt. By virtue of the strong color, it almost looked like the trail was floating on top of these “rivers”. Despite the artifactual nature of the brightly colored trail, it fitted in to create a very interesting and unique landscape. A lot of work must have gone into making the trail, but it certainly also must have made the transverses markedly easier than having to scramble on the rocks. Fortuitously, I passed this section early in the day and thus avoided the baking oven it must turn into by midday.
After crossing a bunch of such lava rock rivers, the trail eventually brought us out of this region to more mundane sections. Nearing the end of the day, I got to a spring, where there had been reported extraordinarily many mosquitoes. There weren’t that many there, though. After a break with a bunch of other hikers, I pushed on. Dusk then came and that or the region we passed through completely changed the mosquito situation for the worse. Even if you kept moving they would get to me. Then I would often stop very briefly to swap them only to have additional ones land. I didn’t want to put on DEET as it is nasty, has to be washed off again, and I thought this would only be a short stretch.
I got to a bit of a drier stretch and had dinner without being eaten alive, fortunately. I put my legs in front of me so the mosquitoes could land there and I could swap them before they got to bite. After that I put on some soft music to accompany a relaxed stroll the last part towards my camping spot. There would be no relaxed stroll, however, as the mosquito situation got worse again and I halfway ran to avoid them still stubbornly avoiding the DEET. Further, the smoke was getting worse than it had ever been. When I eventually got to my planned camp site, I found it to be surrounded by large dead trees. There would be a very real risk of one of those falling on top of me if I camped there. I therefore hiked on and found the next camp site to be much better. Oldtimer and Dragon had already gotten there. It was nice talking a bit with them before going to bed and put me at ease again. Both of them had done the Appalachian Trail before the PCT. Oldtimer’s name was appropriate as he was sixty four years old, but still going strong and surprisingly fit. I edged out my previous milage recorded today by accidentally doing 33 miles. I hope that the smoke situation will get better soon, as this isn’t particularly noce.
This days miles: 1760-1793