PCT 2018 Day 84, July 15, Sunday

Start mile 1966.5, tentsite

End mile 1996.5, pond

Miles walked: 30

North Sister comes into view in the morning.

An Obsidian Limited Entry Area requires a permit for non-PCT hikers for a two mile segment of trail. Bits of obsidian are in the trail, and larger fist-size specimens are nearby.

The trail goes over an area of lava rock. Unlike lava flows in New Mexico, where rock is melted together, these are separate lava rocks. Was the lava broken up by a glacier? Several named glaciers are nearby, not visible from the trail. Or did the lava get deposited by an explosion similar to Mount St Helens, instead of a liquid flow? Or was there some other mechanism?

Later I do see some lava melted together, not separate rocks.

Looking back, one can see the Three Sisters together.

You might think you are done walking across lava fields, then the trail routes you over some more. Near Highway 242, to Sisters, the route does a fun twisty maze with many turns.

Across the highway we climb Belknap Crater, all lava, a long section of several miles.

The day is hot, and walking on lava is hotter, and walking 12 miles between water sources is hottest.

Some trees try to grow on the lava fields, so it is especially sad to see a burned area here. I run into a hiker who says the burn and closure happened last year, and that she is back now to complete her trail.

I detour to a youth camp for water, and stay an hour or so to download podcasts on their wifi. They have a hiker welcome center, with kitchen, laundry, showers, and hiker box.

Hikers Josh, Ran (Israel), and Cache 22 are there, staying for a dinner. I skip dinner, and leave a donation for water and wifi on my way out.

I stop at a large pond to camp, the last water for thirteen miles.

Elk Lake

PCT 2018 Day 83, July 14, Saturday

Start mile 1935.8, campsite near small lake

End mile 1966.5, tentsite

Miles walked: 30.7

The trail goes by many lakes, ponds, and mosquitos in the morning. Fog rises from the surface of some lakes in early morning. Elk Lake Resort has many visitors today. A hamburger selfie… The resort does not offer wifi, so there is no reason to linger. I grab an ice cream cone on my way out and return to the trail. The next two photos go together. In the Three Sisters Wilderness, some peaks rise suddenly above mountain meadow. Le Conte Crater is an old volcano. Then comes the Three Sisters, starting with South Sister. Behold Middle Sister. North Sister must wait until tomorrow.

Finished audiobook A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway.

So Many Lakes

PCT 2018 Day 82, July 13, Friday

Start mile 1904.1, trail junction with Shelter Cove Trail

End mile 1935.8, campsite near small lake

Miles walked: 31.7

Many lakes and ponds today. Mosquitos were so relentless that I needed to wear a headnet nearly all day. A flotilla of ducklings go out on a lake. A nordic ski hut gives temporary refuge from skeeters. A burn area with new growth makes patterns for the eyes with snags and downed trees. For the last several miles of the day, I passed several lakes and ponds, with mosquitos getting aggressive. Eventually I need to put on a windbreaker for extra bite protection, and did end the day a little early just to retreat inside a tent with good insect netting.

Finished audiobook The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, read by Brenda Dayne.

Shelter Cove

PCT 2018 Day 81, July 12, Thursday

Start Oregon Skyline Trail mile zero, water cache

End Oregon Skyline Trail mile 20.6, then Shelter Cove Trail

Miles walked: 20.6

Magic Beans and I had decided to walk the alternate route to Shelter Cove resort, the Oregon Skyline Trail, slightly shorter with more water sources. With a name like Skyline you expect walking on high exposed ridges, right? No, just more green tunnel. Why the name? The path does go by a number of lakes and ponds. Closer to the end, the forest looks different. Can you spot the change? Answer: Much more moss on the trees. I do not have a theory for the change.

I arrive at the resort in early afternoon. Magic Beans was already here, with several section and thru-hikers hanging out at the picnic tables. Magic Beans does not stay, but I have planned to get a tent site and shower and do laundry. But my supply box has not arrived. Luckily, it comes at the 6PM UPS delivery. Wifi is slow, yet again, so almost no podcasts can be downloaded even with hours of attempts and multiple timeouts. The Cove does have a hiker tent nearby with good hiker boxes of free stuff, and a microwave, which I use to heat water for meals and tea. Spacejam arrives later in the afternoon, and I meet Jake, Socrates, Allison, Bryan, Scrappy, Nalgene, and TwoSpeed.

Mount Thielsen

PCT 2018 Day 80, July 11, Wednesday

Start mile 1837.2, campsites

End mile 1875.8, water cache

Miles walked: 38.6 (oops!)

We are starting to see some snow-kissed mountains nearby,

The trail climbs a bit to Mount Thielsen, not climbing to the top, but getting midway for good views.

In the distance one can see flat areas, hinting at the edge of the mountain range.

I meet Savage and Matador, who hiked the AT last year and are section hiking Oregon. We walk together talking for several miles, and the distance slips by easily and quickly with good conversation. They stop at one of the rare water sources, and I press on to a water cache in six miles.

Magic Beans is camped there. She had not passed me, but somehow got off the trail and took an alternate route.We are both headed to Shelter Cove resort tomorrow, hence the extra miles today to get closer.

Finished audiobook The Stories of J G Ballard, adapted from short stories by the author.

Finished audio short story Auggie Wren’s Christmas, by Paul Auster, read by author.