August 8th, 2018
Cigar lake mm 2044 to Rockpile Lake mm 2015
Distance: 29 miles
On today’s agenda: walking around Mt Jefferson, another volcano. I love it!
I had first spied it from the slopes of Mt Hood 3 days prior and now it loomed large. Incidentally, back at Timberline lodge, I observed a father pointing at it and telling his son, “see, that’s Mt. St Helens!” Ok, for starters, Helens is the only volcano with a flat top and should be easily distinguishable from all the others. Furthermore, it lies 60 miles to the NW from Mt. Hood and is not even in Oregon, it’s in Washington. Wrong state, wrong direction, wrong mountain, Dad! Let’s hope Jr. has competent geography teachers in school ?.
If I sound like a geography snob, it’s that I’ve had the luxury of seeing and walking past all these features for days, if not weeks. These mountains have been a dominating presence in my life and as a navigator on a ship, I always had to identify all the significant features around me. Giant volcanoes make for easy navigation, provided you can distinguish one from another.
I was reluctant to leave my lovely campsite but I wanted to do big miles today, maybe as much as 33. Of course the day started with a big climb (Oregon is not flat) but it was worth it for the views. I watched the sun rise through the haze. I assume the smoke is from the fires to the south but who knows.
The trail went steeply through rock fields up to a ridge, where the views of Mt Jefferson were the best. I even went over a few snow patches, which were fun, a reminder of my early days on the trail.
Then I wound down from the ridge and through beautiful meadows below the mountain. It was a lovely morning walk.
I rounded the other side of the mountain and passed a creek where there was a dead horse stuck against a rock. I figured it must have fallen from the trail or while crossing the stream and how traumatic that must have been for the animal and owner. The PCT is open to stock animals throughout but there are many places I would be afraid for the welfare of the animal. There are very steep sections everywhere.
I had lunch at Milk Creek and as I continued on, a passing NOBO turned and asked if I was from Miami. I was in disbelief that someone recognized me. Spruce (Mary) was on a hike with me last November, led by my friend Ryan Lusk. She lives in North Miami and is hiking much of the trail this summer. I was sorry that I couldn’t remember her exactly but will go back to look at the pictures from that hike when I can. It was so crazy to be recognized by someone from Miami.
I will be passing my two friends Abigail and Cody in a few days, too. They live down in Homestead and hiked the FL trail. Now they are hiking the PCT north and just entered Oregon.
The afternoon got hot as usual and I was dragging. I jumped fully clothed into a lake to cool off. After stopping to talk with Spruce and the other breaks, I realized that I was probably not going to make the 33 miles. I would settle for only 29. It’s not good that I’m setting such high expectations this early in the hike.
My destination was a very nice lake. There were quite a few people but I found a beautiful flat spot in some grass. While eating dinner, a deer with 2 fawns wondered by. Then a few more came to drink and nearly bumped into me. They were very unconcerned about people.