Mile 2012 to 2040, 28 miles
Cost: camped by Upper Lake, free
KC and I were up at 5, just before Shepherd, and everything was wet… It was sprinkling outside, the lake had disappeared in the mist and it was freezing cold. Usually I would get everything out of my tent and pack it up before eating breakfast but today I tried to delay packing up my tent for as long as possible because it was so wet. When I did finally wrap up my tent it was completely saturated and heavy… It got me thinking how lucky we’ve been with the bad weather that there’s never really been any consecutive days of bad weather so we’ve always been able to dry out our gear in the sun during the day… I really hoped today would be the same, but it certainly didn’t start out nice.
We left with Shepherd and stopped after about 10 minutes to add rain jackets and gloves, I couldn’t feel my fingers.
It hadn’t been this cold or wet for a long time and the conditions reminded me of being on San Jacinto in the storm. We passed heaps of viewing spots with only mist for our view.
When I got to Russell Creek, KC and Shepherd had just managed to get to the other side. It was hard to hear them over the roar of the water but they were telling me not to do what they had done (jumped from one boulder to another) and instead to go through the water where I was standing. There were a couple of other hikers also wanting to cross and they took off their shoes, put on flip flops and started through the raging current of water. I didn’t want to take my shoes off because I’m currently wearing two ankle braces and it would’ve taken ages to take everything off so I just carefully and slowly entered the water. It was the shortest but scariest ford I’ve done so far including the sierras. Shepherd was waiting on the other side with an outstretched hand and as soon as I was close enough, I grabbed his hand and he pulled me up the bank, thanks Shepherd!
After Russell Creek we started an 8 mile climb uphill, me with wet feet. My wet feet quickly became sandy and muddy… I think I’ve forgotten to mention that the PCT in Oregon is either made up of sand/dirt or lava rock. The dirt played havoc with my wet feet and I could feel hot spots starting all over my feet… I thought about changing my socks but the alternative was a slightly less wet pair that I had washed at Shale Lake earlier in the day.
We stopped a lot throughout the afternoon talking to day and section hikers (which I really enjoy) but our mileage decreased and the light started to fade. By the time we got to Upper Lake after 28 miles, my knees and ankles were aching as if I’d done a 40 mile day – this is the first time to have such aching feet and knees on the entire trail, I think the lava fields are at fault. We cooked dinner by the lake with the intention of continuing on another 2.5 miles to Olalie Lake where we would meet Shepherd but we were both in so much pain, falling asleep sting dinner and it was now after dark that we decided to set up camp where we were and hope to catch up to Shepherd tomorrow.
I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated to the PCTA through my razoo account. The total now stands at $1835 with my goal being $2000. It means so much to know that with your help we are keeping this trail open and maintained for future generations to come. Thank you xxx