Wednesday 20th July
Start: Bushcamp, mile 2062
End: Bushcamp, mile 2084
It has taken a month, but we finally broke a 20-mile day! 21 miles may not quite equal a marathon, but we are carrying our lives on our backs. I feel like a [painful] machine.
As Dan cleverly dropped his phone and ‘lifeline’, he asked if he could tag along with us today. Beats getting lost I guess! We always use the phone to double-check our location, especially in areas of snow, so I couldn’t imagine not having it. So the three of us set out and covered a quick 8 miles before 11am. Apart from a couple of miles at the very start it was a gentle undulating grade through shaded pine forest.
- A nice hand-carved sign
Timothy Lake is huge and glistened as we rounded it towards lunchtime. Most of our view was obscured by trees, but I could hear the soft lapping of water against the shore, and the odd motorboat in the distance. By 1pm we were enjoying a well-earned lunch next to the lake. Dan shared some pita breads which was a massive treat for us – we love bread on the trail, accompanied by jerky, peanut butter, and crackers: what a feast!
After lunch it was notably much hotter as we climbed a further 5 miles to the next water source. The spring was virtually hidden in the campground, so we scratched ourselves bush-whacking to find it, only to realise that it was virtually on the trail! We did originally intend to camp there, it would have made for an 18-mile day, but instead we put our stoves and water filters to work. We all cooked an early dinner, then ‘cameled up’ as Dan puts it with 3 litres of water each. It’s 1 night of camping and 12 miles of uphill until we next get water.
We had decided to help out our tomorrow selves and hike nearly 4 miles extra today. This would mean we sacrifice a nice water-convenient camp for a makeshift dry one, but we would reach Timberline Lodge just that bit earlier. The Lodge is famous on the PCT circuit for its breakfast and lunch buffets! We also seriously need showers – this is the longest so far I have gone without washing my hair and it sucks!
We found the last 4 miles really tough. At least it had cooled down a bit whilst we had been eating. To get through the uphill slog we just put in our headphones and listened to music, something that we haven’t done much so far (I’m usually busy listening for bears). My anthem for the day was Cat Stevens ‘Wild World’. I sung along just to warn the bears not to mess with us. We were walking along a steep mountain face, when we finally caught sight of Mount Hood across the valley. We both stopped in our tracks, a bit taken back by its magnificence. It is Oregon’s greatest peak, and was shining right at us like a beacon in the late afternoon sun.
When we finally reached Wapinitia Pass we crossed the road and I virtually fell into camp. Dan had acquired a picnic table but was intending to set his tent up right by the trailhead car park. We decided to go a bit further up the trail, away from any potential creepy truck drivers.
This has to be our worst camping spot so far, less than 100 metres off Highway 26. We couldn’t walk any further. The trucks are very loud – now I know what air brakes are! This just leaves me with a blister to pop and a dose of ‘vitamin I’ (ibuprofen) to take before bed.