Day 55: Alpine Lakes

Saturday 13th August

Start: Bushcamp, Goldmeyer mile 17.38

End: Deep Lake Bushcamp, mile 2432

Miles: 15.47

I am writing this update from a particularly special camp spot beside Deep Lake.  I am guessing the name refers to the gigantic ridges towering around us which make the lake look like a deep blue sinkhole.

Some early morning views

There are some pristine lakes out here.  The further from road access, the more tranquil and unspoilt they seem to be. Today there was not a single access road anywhere near.  We had whole lakes to ourselves.  The moment we passed over Dutch Miller Gap and caught a glimpse of Ivanhoe Lake sparkling below, I felt privileged to be there.  I really wanted to jump in as the water was so inviting, but it was too early in the hike to stop and relax.  Sometimes this hiking does feel like a job!  We were worried given the slow progress yesterday that we would never make the miles.  I vowed to one day return, and camp by that lake so that I could enjoy it.

Ivanhoe Lake from Dutch Miller Gap
Waterfall above Ivanhoe Lake

On the climb up to Dutch Miller Gap from camp I was pondering just one thought – where are my hiking legs?!  Surely, 55 days into this hike and it should be starting to feel a little easier?  It isn’t.  Maybe our bodies are just exhausted, and if we had a week off we would come back fighting.  We don’t have that time to spare.  It did get me thinking about the PCT ‘thru-hikers’ who started on the Mexican boarder.  Most of them will be coming through this section in a months time, likely in fresh snow.  I take my hat off to them as I don’t know how they manage to sustain themselves through 2659 miles in one season.  Mentally and physically.

Broken bridge across Ivanhoe Lake outlet
This sort of thing does not help!
Prize for best trail blow-down – triple whammy!

Talking about physical issues, I would love it if a day could go by without my feet cramping up!  At lunch today we found a creek to soak our feet in to numb the pain in the icy water.  Whilst drying them off a lump of skin on the top of my toe just fell off!  Surely that’s not good?  My hiking shoes are 1.5 sizes larger than my regular shoes, so I don’t know what the problem is.  It could have been the heat.  Tshirts got dipped in the lake, and we kept taking breathers from the exposed switchbacks, but it felt brutal.  Us English people are just not used to operating in these conditions!

Ivanhoe Lake tshirt dip

We made camp at a much earlier time of 5pm tonight, deciding not to go any further.  Yesterday was such a massive day, and arriving at camp that late and that tired makes for no down time.  We want to take a moment to enjoy our surroundings more.  All too often we are in auto-pilot doing chores or making miles to appreciate the majestic sights around us.

The view of Deep Lake from camp
Evening treat – hot chocolate & Snickers

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