Wednesday 27th July
Start: Bushcamp, mile 2164
End: Panther Creek Bushcamp, mile 2180
We set out early today, desperate to avoid the heat of yesterday. We left Steve asleep on his hammock, and Dan filtering water by the creek.
Similar to yesterday we were climbing up through a moss-coated temperate rainforest. It didn’t take long for it to feel very humid. When filtering water at the first stream Dan passed us by, and a comment was made about his sweaty knees! Everything was rapidly beginning to stick to me. In those morning hours whilst trying to avoid treading on one of the fat juicy slugs scattered along the path, my mind was fixated on a single thought: will Washington ease up on us? I just cannot bring myself to look at the elevation charts through fear of immediately bailing!
We pushed ourselves to reach Trout Creek for lunch, 11 miles in. Dan met us there, and within just a few minutes I was surprised to see Steve arrive. Wow, either he hikes like a manic, or we take way too many ‘breathers’! We had bagels with cream cheese and jam for lunch (another heavy treat I had been carrying), but it tasted so good. Thanks to Steve, the topic of Big Foot came up. Apparently we are now in his territory. If he does indeed exist. I hope not – I have enough to worry about with bears and cougars!
Following the longest, hottest, 5 miles of my life we reached Panther camp. This is a state-run campground just off the trail. Although sadly they do not have showers, they do have campsites with picnic tables, drinking water, and porta-loos. Such luxuries we cannot resist. We found Dan sat in the dirt cooking his food by the entry stand. He was sitting out the heat before continuing on. Steve arrived just after us. Together the three of us ventured into the campsite, too hot to hike another mile.
We decided was that we wouldn’t pay the $18 for a site. Instead, we took a very brief dip in the frigidly cold Panther Creek, which made our feet burn, but was satisfying. We cooked our food stealthily on a picnic table, then returned to the PCT a few yards away to camp. We made good use of the pumped well water though. It felt like a night off from filtering! We are camped tonight for the first time without the rain tarp on our tent. It is warm enough. And besides, Steve is camped next to us in a hammock, so if Big Foot does appear I figure he will take him!