PCT Day 119, Double Flip and a Flop, Day 38

August 9

Mile 1958.8 to mile 1974.8, 16 PCT miles, no off-trail miles
PCT Total: 1176.8
Running total: 1291.8
Guess who woke up late again?? 😉 I decided to eat two protein bars for breakfast to get my body ready for today’s marathon- we had planned to hike 26ish miles today (more if we hiked fast…) to leave no more than an 11 mile day into the Big Lake Youth Camp tomorrow.
By 0815 we were on the trail, getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Another morning I couldn’t bring myself to pee…
We walked through some trees for a bit, then came out into this amazing valley/ meadow with subtle rolling hills- we could see for miles! At one point I thought I saw a person not too far ahead of us coming SoBo but we never ended up passing him- was I seeing things or was it a bear that ran off trail?? Was Matt about to get eaten?? Eventually we did end up passing the guy & he mentioned that so much time had passed between the time he first saw us and when we actually passed that he had started to believe that we were trees he had mistaken for humans! After being in the trees for so long, our depth perception is totally off!! {Sidenote, after telling this stranger that I haven’t peed yet today due to the mosquitos, he promised me that I’ll be able to pee in peace in the upcoming section- no skeets!! Finally!!!}

(Three Sister’s Wilderness: South and Middle Sister)

We ended up walking through some trees, some burn scars, a meadow….

Matt and I continued on to a small creek for our second breakfast, being careful to watch the time so we didn’t lose the entire day.

Trail Gorillas!
The rest of the morning consisted of some ups and downs with only a few, short steep sections.

We soon entered the Obsidian Limited Entry Area- obsidian was everywhere- from tiny rocks on the trail to large boulders! {Obsidian is volcanic glass!} To limit foot traffic & destruction, a special permit is required to be on this section of the trail. Our PCT permits allow us to hike through but do not allow us to camp in this section- it’s only a few miles long, so that’s no problem!

We took a very short side trail to get up close and personal to Obsidian Falls!

We decided to hike on about 1 more mile to have lunch by Glacier Creek. On the way we were stopped by a Ranger who checked our permits- this was the first ranger we met all trail AND the first time we had our permits checked (except for when we used them to get free pie in Julian…)

We sat down around 3, joining a handful of weekenders who were already taking advantage of such a beautiful lunch spot!

Matt and I unpacked our packs for lunch and minutes later we heard a big crack of thunder followed shortly after by a torrential downpour and eventually a hail storm. EVERYTHING was soaked as we raced to seek shelter in a grove of trees- and we only got wetter!! I was soo happy that I had put on my rain pants- my seat ended up being like a cold sitz bath :/
I stress-ate all of my snacks while we waited out the storm for two hours. When it came time to pack up, I literally had to dump out a pool of water that had collected in my food bag & dump out a hat full of hail. Ugh. Had we been hiking when it started to storm all of our stuff would have been safe and dry in our packs, but alas, timing was not on our side today…
The storm seemed to subside, so we set out to hike another 11 miles. As we climbed, there was a constant roll of thunder in the distance- a subtle warning that we weren’t in the clear just yet. It soon became apparent that another storm was settling in just as we were approaching a section of trail that left the trees and climbed up another 400 feet on a very exposed lava field- oh hellzzzz no!
We again sought shelter in the trees, where we found Beats Working with his tent already set up for the night- he had figured the weather wasn’t gonna clear so he called his day early. Matt and I discussed our options and decided that we, too, should admit defeat and set up camp for the night, before 5pm and less than 2 miles after lunch. We had the tent set up seconds before another complete downpour and hailstorm.
Tomorrow would be a much bigger day than we had anticipated, which kinda stinks ’cause I had eaten all of my snacks and my breakfast bar- 10 extra miles and limited food :/
Happiness is: flexibility & having the tent sent up before the second storm!

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