August 18, 2017: Hiked Miles 1994.0 to 1998.4 and 2036.9 to 2052.5 (20.0 total)
We woke up this morning to the sound of the lake quietly lapping on the shore and a very dew-soaked tent. But luckily our rain fly had kept us dry and warm. We packed up and walked back up to the youth camp from the lake. It seemed like fellow hikers were the only ones awake in the camp. I guess we’re the only ones who wake up at 6:00 just for the heck of of it. Our laundry hadn’t been started yet so we decided just to take it and do laundry at the next place since we didn’t want to sit around all morning. The camp’s breakfast didn’t start until 8:30, and as great as a homecooked meal sounded, we wanted to get on the trail earlier than that. So we ate our poptarts and started hiking. Right as we were leaving I got a whiff of what smelled like fresh cinnamon rolls and almost turned back. We got out of there quickly before we changed our minds.
We hiked the 4.4 miles on the trail back to the highway through another old burn.
When we got to Highway 20 we stuck our thumbs out, held up our cardboard “PCT” sign we’d made at the youth camp, and waited. Hitchhiking on a highway is never easy since cars are flying by you, so we waited around 30 or 40 minutes and finally got picked up by a nice guy who was heading to Portland. His car was packed with all sorts of stuff, but we managed to squeeze in. I even had a companion to hang out with in the backseat.
He dropped us off and we thanked him immensely. We pulled our sign out to start hitchhiking again as we still had a ways to go to get back to the trail. We saw a truck drive by and a couple minutes later the same truck came back towards us and turned around. Inside were another couple of PCT hikers who were Ubering from Salem back to the trailhead after skipping ahead due to all the fires. When they saw us with our PCT sign, they made the driver turn around to pick us up as well. The driver, another Jim, drove us up the highway and then a long ways down an incredibly bumpy and rocky forest service road to Breitenbush Lake where the PCT resumes north after the fire closure around the Mt. Jefferson fire. The ride was so fun. We compared trail stories with the hikers who had started two days before us in Mexico and Jim told us all about Ubering and all the great experiences he has had doing it. We were so appreciative to get a ride to the trailhead as we had expected to have to walk the seven mile uphill forest service road since it didn’t look like it got much traffic. We offered to give the couple some cash but they wouldn’t take it, saying they were paying it forward from all the rides they have got on the trail. We meet the best people on the trail. I feel so fortunate.
They were planning on camping at the lake for a few days for the eclipse because it’s supposed to get the maximum amount of total coverage there, so we said goodbye and got back on the trail. It felt good to hike after so much sitting and standing all morning.
We hiked up onto a ridge and looked out to a still smokey sky.
We stopped at Upper Lake for lunch which was absolutely breathtaking.
There are a ton of people camped out around this area, getting here early for the eclipse, so we had fun watching a family play in the lake during lunch. The sun and slight breeze felt great on our faces and we had a relaxing, warm lunchbreak.
We finally pulled ourselves away from our gorgeous lake and hiked on. We crept through gorgeous green meadows and past a bunch of mountain lakes.
Beer, soda, and chips. Perfect hiker nourishment. We grabbed some drinks to take with us for dinner and kept hiking. The rest of the afternoon was spent hiking through thick forests. Looks like we’re back in The Green Tunnel of Oregon. Right before we stopped for the night the trail opened up a bit and we had a pretty evening to end our day of hiking.
We found a stream to camp nearby and met Cole, a southbound hiker from Eugene. We ate dinner with him and laughed and laughed about how crazy this trail is and how crazy it makes us, and told each other everything we need to know about the upcoming sections. It’s so nice to actually sit down with someone who had just hiked everything we’re about to and pick their brain. It was a big help. We talked and laughed until after dark and finally went to bed.
Neither one of us slept very well last night so hopefully we can catch up on some good rest tonight. But there’s this one tree that won’t stop creaking right behind our tent that is definitely going to try and keep us up. Hopefully my earplugs will do their job tonight.