August 13, 2017
Grouse Hill Camp – Maidu Lake Junction (Crater Lake Alternate Mile 11.30 – Mile 1863.44)
Today was a pretty great day. It got cold last night, the coldest night we’ve had in a while, and it was still pretty cool in the morning when we started hiking. We finished off the last little bit of the Rim Trail and then we were back on the PCT. We took a quick detour over to a parking area with a bear box because there was a water cache there, which I was very thankful for since without it I would have only had a little over 2 litres for a 17 mile stretch.
The trail was lovely today. The day was quite cool and overcast, perfect conditions for crushing miles. The elevation profile for the day was pretty nice too. We started off with a nice flat section, and then there were a couple of climbs but they were so gradual that most of the time you couldn’t even tell you were climbing. Things started to get really beautiful after our lunch break, as we wound around the base of Mount Thielsen, which was shrouded in mist and looked absolutely epic. We hiked through a forest of western larches for most of the day, some of them just beginning to show the first hints of their autumn colours. It was cold today, and I had to put my puffy on every time we stopped to take a break.
Near the end of the day, we found ourselves at the highest point of the trail in Oregon and Washington. There, we also found a baby onesie that is apparently trying to travel the trail, so we decided to take it with us for a bit. We sat down there to eat a snack, and I had some yogurt-covered cranberries, some peanut m&m’s, some mike & ikes, and a luna bar, and I was still hungry. The metabolism of the thru-hiker is like a raging furnace. Food gets dropped in and almost immediately gets burned up into nothing. While we sat there snacking, it began to mist lightly.
When we started hiking again, it was cold enough that I was able to see my breath. The whole world smelled slightly of campfire. We only had 5 downhill miles left to camp, and I was feeling good. We were able to crush over 27 miles by 7pm, and my feet didn’t even really hurt and I wasn’t even that tired. It was amazing. The longest day I’ve ever hiked in my life. I also passed my own personal 1500 mile mark today, which is exciting. Today was a pretty great day.