Thursday 18th August
Start: Bushcamp, mile 2484
End: Baekos Creek Bushcamp, mile 2506
…is the question I asked myself when in the searing afternoon heat, and on our third big climb an elderly gentlemen told me I was on a “grand adventure”. I just faked a quick smile and continued on with my slow plod.
The 5000 feet climb, and 6000 feet descent today was not the killer. The main issue for us was the exposure. From the early morning haze I could tell it was going to be a scorcher, and it didn’t disappoint. Trying to hike, carrying a huge weight, up a massive mountain, with no shade, is not really my idea of fun. Conrad, with his new feet problems following a recent shoe change argued that this was the toughest day yet. I am not sure, probably because I currently have heat stroke and can’t think back past today!
Whilst I am on the thread of why today was so difficult, I have to mention those pesky biting black flies. They are everywhere. What a menace. It appears that they particularly enjoy attacking faces, especially eyes and ears. Deet does not faze them. We ate lunch in about 10 minutes because we couldn’t cope with being swarmed. And we really needed a rest.
The 3 main passes we climbed today were called: Indian, White, and Red. The trail was traversing and weaving through valleys heading towards Glacier Peak. Glacier is the last of the giant peaks shown on our PCT maps. It is still snow-coated, and we did pass the odd pocket of snow even today in these temperatures. Otherwise the landscape was very green, with colourful wildflowers and a green shrub carpet on the higher elevations.
We only entered the cover of forest in the last 2 miles, when it had already cooled down. Lots of tiny seasonal streams are flowing, proving the glacial snow melt continues.
I think I should end on a positive note. This morning it seemed that our stove had broken. This freaked me out as most of our food is either oatmeal or dehydrated. Conrad even asked if we should abort. But when we stopped at around 5pm to cook dinner it worked! I am so relieved.