The terrain is starting to change again. More and more large lakes are starting to show up and they are starting to become the primary source of water. After leaving Odell lake where the resort was, I must have passed nearly a dozen lakes and the third shelter of the trip so far. I saw about eight southbounders and over a dozen weekend hikers today.
Since it took so long to get laundry done last night, I slept in until about 6:30. That would give me enough time to pack up before the store opened. I packed everything up, drank my Izze grapefruit soda and took my garbage and one water bottle with me to the store.
The store didn’t have anything special for breakfast,.so I got a hot pocket from the cooler and a fresh coffee. The hot pocket was about what you’d expect, but the coffee was quite good. She made it from a fresh espresso and water. I must be getting close to Seattle.
I talked with a southbounder for over half an hour about what he can expect and he did the same for me. I filled up my water bottle and made my way back to the campsite. Gator and Nuthin were just waking so I said goodbye to them and headed out. The first mile plus was a road walk and then about three quarters of a mile to get back up to the ridge where the PCT was. It was about 9:15 before I got back on the official PCT. A bit later start than I was hoping for.
The morning was cool and the trail was lush pines. The trail circled around the north side of lake Odell as it climbed up the ridge. It eventually crossed a highway and kept climbing on the other side. Most of the morning was gentle climbing as it passed three Rosary lakes. I noticed there was a shelter that I should hit about 12:30 so that seemed like the perfect target for lunch.
I hit the shelter a little early. It was only 150 yards off the trail and it’s a pretty unique one. It’s an octagon with a vestibule and a big second floor loft for sleeping. It had lots of tables and chairs inside and was very clean. It was the perfect lunch stop to have my salad and cookie.
As I was finishing my salad, a southbounder came in. We had a similar exchange of information that I had earlier in the morning. I offered her one of the three plums I had packed out. She was very grateful and offered to pack out my salad trash. I gave her the last plum as a reward. It’s not often someone offers to take your garbage. She had three hours to a garbage can but I had three days, and the salad bowl was awkward to pack.
I checked the afternoon maps to see where was a likely stopping point. 24 miles from the start of the PCT from this morning was a lake named Irish lake. It sounded like the most likely place Ireland and Shiloh would stop for the night. I would try to make it, too.
The afternoon had a mix of ups and downs that were graded well and I passed several more large lakes. I was running low on water so I stopped at one to fill up. By 5 PM I still had nine miles to go, so it would be questionable if I would make Irish lake or not. My feet were killing me, so I was starting to slow. I had made coffee at 3 PM when I filled up with water so I had energy, but the feet were howling.
I tried something odd today. Since my feet were hurting yesterday, I decided to try to find some insoles in the hiker box to put in my shoes. I found some used ones, so I had put them in my shoes in addition to the ones already in my shoes. They were starting to rub my toes raw since they were molded to someone else’s feet that were slightly smaller than mine. I think I made things worse.
The last hour of the day was a burn area and it was a thoroughly burned one. But new trees were beginning to grow to replace all the dead trees. As soon as it turned to woods again, there was lots of flat ground to camp. I was less than a mile from Irish lake, but it was already 8:15 and my feet were done. I stopped, set up the tent, took my shoes off, then made dinner. Ireland and Shiloh will have to wait another day for me to catch up to them.