July 25th, 2018
Dewey Lake mm 2321 to White Pass mm 2295
Distance: 26 miles plus 0.5 miles to store.
Today started and ended great but the in between sucked, literally.
It was a beautiful morning at the lake and the bugs were barely out. I was entertained by a gray jay picking around my tent during breakfast. I hit the trail at 0645 and enjoyed a nice climb out of the valley, with occasional views of the volcanoes.
I was on my 8th day straight of walking solo and thinking about how silent I could be in order to see a bear. Then just as I rounded a corner and popped into a meadow, I was less than 30 meters away from…a herd of elk! We all stared at each other for a few seconds then I fumbled for my phone and got a few pics as they started to take off. There were many calves. Being silent does pay off.
I passed about 10 other hikers going north after that. I stopped for a break to chat with a few but was shortly chased away by the mossies, and this was high up on a ridge, in the sun, with a breeze. A sign of what was to come. I dropped into a heavily forested valley and it got a lot worse.
For the next 16 miles, I stopped only once to fill up my water. And even while doing this, I had to pace back and forth just to be able to withstand the onslaught. The mossies were voracious, chasing me down and biting my backside as I hiked this corridor of green. There were little ponds and meadows all along the way, so with all that standing water, no wonder they were so bad. The poor elk. Poor me! It’s such a shame because the area is very lovely otherwise.
I was dragging by the afternoon, having no breaks. But every time I would slow just a bit, I would get mauled. Sometimes I just ran. It was a little infuriating. At one point, I just had to scream. At least I made it in record time to the store at White Pass. 26.5 miles by 1630, with plenty of time to pick up my resupply box and rest with a mt dew and Doritos. What begins and ends well is still a good day!
I ran into a few SOBOs, including Plants, but they were all taking off that evening. It was only me and a NOBO left at the end of the day. I did some other chores before the store closed at 6 pm and then set up my tent behind. They let hikers stay for free. I hand washed some laundry while I took a shower in the outside pay-shower. It was so refreshing and washed away all the bad thoughts about the bugs.
Later a couple, Mip and Willem, came up to chat. Their step-daughter Bella is thru-hiking SOBO but they had just missed her coming through a few days ago. So they wanted to hear my stories, instead. They were Dutch as well, but had also lived in Durango, CO. I was so nice chatting with them. (I wouldn’t catch up to Bella until CA but had the pleasure of hiking with her for a few days in the desert).
I had dinner, feeling clean and not dealing with bugs due to the nice breeze. I slept great, too, despite the noisy highway.
Sorry I don’t have so many pictures of this past section…it was good but not as great as others.