Pacific Crest Trail

Salmon berries, cat holes, and nothing in particular

Day 120

Another day with mediocre sleep as I awoke from feeling cold despite wearing almost all my clothing while in my sleeping bag. I have an emergency blanket that I think I will try to put under my sleeping mat to see if that will reflect the heat back to me. Even though it still is quite warm by midday, as in I’m sweating while in just shorts and a shirt, the nights and mornings get cold.

The first section of the day was in a recent burn, which probably comes as no surprise to you if you’ve read yesterday’s entry. On the trail I saw a bunch of deer prints of various sizes, so it was probably a deer I heard yesterday night.

Throughout the day the trail remained quite soft and smooth. Nevertheless, and perhaps due to being tired, I wasn’t going particularly fast. The scenery wasn’t that interesting in part because of the smoke lingering on. One thing I did notice, was that the chipmunks I had been seeing were rather fat. They might be gearing up for the winter.

The trail went by a publicly open hut with pit toilets. I wanted to pay the toilets a visit so I possibly could save myself having to dig a cat hole later, but they were so stinky, that I thought I’d rather dig a cat hole anyways. Well, since it was kind of a crappy day, let’s talk a bit about pooping in nature, as I don’t think I have yet. You simply walk a long way away from the trail and water, dig an eight inch deep hole (the “cat hole”), cover it again, use hand sanitizer, and voila, you’re done. I use a large tent stake to dig the hole, but I have also tried a lightweight trowel called “The Deuce of Spades”. While you’d probably imagine that I liked the pun, I found it too flimsy in the hard and rocky ground. While the tent stake doesn’t scoop as well, it is easier to dig around rocks. As for the toilet paper, I actually use wet wipes to keep it extra clean now that I don’t get to shower every day. To save weight I leave them out to dry a bunch and then add water when I have to use them. You cannot just bury wet wipes along with your poop. Some places it is okay to bury toilet paper, but even that is frowned upon by many, myself included, as the toilet paper has its ways to making it to the surface and litter the nature. One of those ways is that some animals like to dig up our cat holes as they smell interestingly. Long story short, I carry out my used wet wipes, which sounds kind of gross, but they ars in a zip lock bag within another zip lock bag within the zip lock bag with the unused ones. As for where to dig the cat hole to avoid embarrassment and unpleasant situations some additional tips from other hikers and me include: make sure the trail doesn’t turn ahead so you are walking parallel to it; make sure you don’t walk most of the way down to the next switchback when walking on such; and when you are about to walk for hours on a steep hillside section with nowhere to get off the trail without outright rock climbing up or down, make sure you don’t have anything coming up. It is a whole science, really. No not really. 🙂

Later in the day I got through an older burn area. The remains of the burned trees were all white and a new pines were sprawling. I guess it was eight years ago. At the northern boundary of the burn area, however, there was a large sign stating the story of the fire and that it started in 1988, two years after I was born! Apparently, it really takes a long time for the forest to fully recover.

I also saw a bunch of salmon berries, which looks like yellow/reddish blackberries, and decided to taste some of them. I felt pretty confident in my identification and supposedly there are no poisonous compound berries. It didn’t taste of salmon. Ha. It didn’t taste much of anything really, so back to the blueberries.

In the afternoon I was able to up the speed quite a bit, which I for some reason often seem to be. I heard the wind picking up quite a bit, for some reason. Around dinner time I made it to a potential campsite and found a nice spot out of the wind and without any dead trees looming over it. However, while reviewing tomorrow’s plans I noticed that I had used the pre-2018 milages for the overall plan, so there was in fact three more miles to tomorrow’s destination, Snoqualmie Pass, and I considered hiking on, but didn’t feel like it and the upcoming campsites seemed potentially exposed to the gushing winds, so I resigned myself to getting a bit earlier up and a bit later to “town” tomorrow. Not a lot happened of particular interest happened today. Nothing much at all, but there is bound to be some days like that on such a long walk.

This days miles: 2337-2364

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