Pacific Crest Trail

I want ice cream and not just a dead horse

Day 106

Yesterday I was the last to get to camp and I was also the last to leave by quite a margin. No more sleep deprivation, please! I still felt tired, though, and because I was the last to leave I kind of felt, that I was behind despite the fact that this was just a new group of hikers. In fact, I didn’t really feel like hiking at all and I was going quite slow. There were a couple of nice enough views of Mount Jefferson although there were still hints of smoke.

After a while, the trail went into a long burned section that had burned just last year. It was getting very hot and there wasn’t much shade. Somewhat later, the trail went by a creek without any bridges and without any way to cross without getting wet feet. There was also a dead horse in the water just downstream of where the trail crossed the creek. It had probably been there for a while. It had lost all hair except for the trail and was grossly swollen. I will leave out any more details and pictures thereof, but let’s just say it was one more good reason to be careful about not slipping and being carried downstream and I didn’t use this as a water source.

I had nearly forgotten how laborious it was with the river crossings with the las one being mid Sierras or so, but I changed to my new shoes, which had more grip and packed my electronics away. The crossing didn’t look that easy and you couldn’t see the bottom as the water was silty and opaque. But appearances are deceiving and it turned out to be a quite easy crossing after all. I met Bigfeet there. He had walked quite a bit upstream and found a dry crossing but then realized that there were nowhere to get back to the trail from where it led and had thus spent forty minutes on nothing and still got his feet wet. He had a quite positive attitude so it hadn’t brought his spirits down.

Fortunately, the creek crossing also signified the end of the burned section. Going was still tough, though as the trail was ascending and rocky. I took my second lunch break and looked at the time. Bad news. I was planning to get to Olallie Lake before eight pm, because there was a store selling cold drinks and ice cream there. That probably sounds silly to the average person, but it would really mean something to get my daily fix of something nice now that there hadn’t been much in terms of great views. It was still just feasible, though, if I hurried up.

Shortly after that I looked at the trail and started seeing footprints that I recognized all to well as my own and they were going the opposite way. What the heck, I thought, am I going the wrong way? Where could I have made a wrong turn? Have I really been here before?I looked at the map with GPS. Wasn’t my footprints after all. Not a lot of people wear New Balance shoes, and especially not in as large sizes as me, but apparently someone with comparable shoes sizes had recently gone by. Pew!

The following section of trail turned into a somewhat steep and quite rocky ascent, as we apparently were going ove a mountain pass. Shortly after snow appeared and there were even two snow patches on the trail, though they could quite easily be circumnavigated. It had surely been a long time since the last snow! Shortly after that the trail descended and as with many passes the first section was very rocky, uneven, and meandering. There were a couple of okay views but the trail wasn’t making progress quicker. After getting down the first section I looked at the map and the time. This wasn’t looking good, but I really wanted to get to Olallie Lake before the shop closed. It geared up and surprisingly was able to mobilize the physical and mental energy to get down the pass quickly and with the help of some fast paced music I eventually gained some time. With two hours left it started to look better. I was sweating profusely though and had already spent a lot of my energy reserves. The last stretch did work out okay, though, and I made it to the lake about twenty minutes before closing time. I bought two ice cream sandwiches and a coke which I enjoyed on a bench near a boat bridge on the lake.

In the background I overheard Pops speaking to a person staying in the vacation cabins next to the shop about them having excess food and wanted to hear if it could interest some hikers. I also got invited along with Noname. It was David, Gillian?, their friends, and their family who had been barbecuing. They gave us salmon, sweet potatoes, key lime pie, and beer. That was super nice and just a tad better than the cold mashed potatoes from powder that had otherwise been what had been in store for me. It was also very nice to talk to them, and I had also for a long time wanted to see how a barbecue dinner party was like here in the US. Not that different from back in Denmark, but certainly nice. David and his wife had come to Olallie lake some years ago and had liked the place in particular the lack of cellular service, internet, and electricity. The people next to them had been up all night making a lot of noise, so the next year they had rented all of the cabins and invited their friends. As they had been a staple at the place, the owner offered them to rent the place during the solar eclipse last year which went right over the lake. They said it had been an extraordinary experience and it was as if there had been a sunset all the way along the horizon in all directions. David was actually a doctor like me and had studied in Hamburg, Germany with his back then girlfriend even though he was an American and german was his second language. We got to tell a lot of stories from our hike. I hope they enjoyed them and I thought we were all having a nice time. It eventually got very dark, and we thanked them for the food and their company.

It had gotten quite late and I were tired and a tad tipsy from the two beers that I had had, so I didn’t feel like hiking on. Luckily one could camp more or less next to the store. I was afraid of condensation, though, but thought that Mads of tomorrow would have to deal with that and set up my tent. However, noticing how warm it was, I realized that it was so warm even here after hiker midnight that condensation problems were unlikely. I quickly fell asleep content and satiated.

This days miles: 2019-2046

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