I left Diamond Lake around noon and along the way met up with Shimiko who I hiked the alternate Diamond Lake Trail with to get back onto the PCT.
It was quite a climb and as we parted ways a massive thunder and lightening storm erupted again. This time I got my rain gear on in time including waterproof Frogg Toggs, a pair of gloves and a Golite umbrella which kept me warm and dry.
Despite the cold and rain it was a pleasant hike and I reached the highest point of the PCT in Oregon and Washington, also passing by south bounders Buddha and Alabama. It's fun meeting up with the few people who start in Canada and hike down to Mexico.
At around 7pm as I hiked along a ridge, I looked down to see the spectacular sight of Miller Lake.
I decided to set up camp overlooking the lake and forests below. Fortunately the rain had stopped for awhile allowing me to set up my tent with minimal hassle but it picked up again later once I was cosy inside my cocoon during the coldest, wettest night I'd experienced on the PCT so far.
I had placed my emergency blanket on the floor of my tent for more insulation and wore several layers of clothing snuggling iinside my down sleeping bag and silk sack. I don't envy the ultra light hikers without tents nor warm clothing, they are going to freeze tonight!
Woke up at 0630 to rain, so promptly went back to sleep and when I reawoke at 0730, the rain had stopped. Now comes the mystery once again of things that go missing in the forest at night. When I arrived at my deserted camp site, someone had previously left a box of Camel cigarettes and a lighter lying on a log. When I woke up in the morning, the cigarettes were gone and the lighter was lying on the ground. Very strange and similar to the story of the disappearing spork!
I enjoyed a pleasant forest and ridge traverse to a spring situated at the bottom of some steep switchbacks and here I met some more south bounders. At Windigo Pass I had the option of hiking the regular PCT or take the more scenic alternate route along the Oregon Sky Trail which I decided upon after having a cup of coffee in my jetboil mug and chatting to a family I met who were on horse back.
A hiker named Greencard set out with me but soon I was on my own, as I kept stopping to take photographs of the numerous pretty lakes and ponds along the way.
Once I reached the very large Cresent Lake I got onto the road running alongside it so that I could find a campground and perhaps a store.
I walked and walked with no campground in sight and it was getting later and later. By this stage I had no idea how to get back onto the trail, was regretting taking the alternate route and felt horribly lost. I eventually flagged a car down to ask for directions and a wonderful couple and their grandsons drove me back to the trail. It had been a rather scary experience feeling lost as it was getting dark. I spent the night at Trapper Creek campground at Shelter Cove and will continue along the official PCT tomorrow. No more alternate routes for me! Thankful to be safe and back on track again.
It was great see see lots of hikers I recently met at Shelter Cove,
too many to mention them all bit a few that spring to mind include Shutter, Captain, Topshelf, Globetrotter, Soft Walker and Aquaman.
I left solo at midday and had an awesome 20 mile/ 32 hike passing beautiful lakes including Ethel Lake, Rosary Lakes and then past Maiden Peak
and Maiden Peak Shelter and finally camped right on the water's edge along the bank of Charlton Lake.
There are preparations afoot along the trail for the "Where's Waldo 100 K" trail race tomorrow. Oregon is amazing to hike across, the terrain is gentle, the trail easy to navigate and the scenery is beautiful!
Woke up on the bank of Charlton Lake with a lot of condensation on my tent. That's what happens when you sleep next to the water! I spent the next 27.5 miles/ 43.5km walking past one stunning lake or pond after the next, through forests on a trail that has a very pleasant gradient.
At one point a south bounding section hiker named Frank came past me and recognized me from the PCT site. He very kindly gave me two Snickers treats and said he was following my hike along with some other people which was quite a surprise as I often feel quite alone out here and don't realize that other people out there are interested in my adventure. Along the way I met Sadie, the hiker dog with her backpack and her human, Bright Eyes. She is such a lovely dog and it made me miss my dog, Kaiki.
My aim today was to make it to the Elk Lake trail junction and camp there in preparation to hike down the 1.2 mile trail to the resort in the morning.
I was happy to achieve my goal and camped on the ridge overlooking the lake. The surrounding mountains of Sisters and Bachelor still have banks of snow on them and framed the picture perfectly.
A day filled with angels, magic and aloha. First was the beautiful sunrise I watched from my tent doorway, after which I strolled down the hill and met Plan B and Whatever ( I think) and they said they recognized me too from the PCT site.
As I waited on the shore of the lake for the restaurant to open a wonderful family invited me over to their campsite and made me breakfast. Wow, what awesome trail angels!
Then when I went down to the restaurant to pick up my supply box, I was treated to a second breakfast by another wonderful family. The day just got better and better as I retrieved my resupply box sent by Marian in Hawaii. Firstly, every item in the box was made in Hawaii, even the music on the ipod she sent me was Hawaiian music. Then there was the amazing laminated photo of the HURT ohana ( Hawaiian Ultra Running Team) holding encouraging banners with my trail name and wonderful messages. I was so overwhelmed by this that I almost teared up. Wow! This was so extremely meaningful and encouraging to me.
Mahalo nui loa for making my day!
More trail angels appeared in the form of a German family who gave me a ride from Elk Lake to the front door of REI in Bend. I was so incredibly grateful to them as my tent zippers were broken and I'm sure I'll be hitting more bad weather, so had to replace my tent. More magic happened when the customer service person gave me a whole brand new tent, no questions asked a well as a twenty dollar gift voucher to spend. As I sit tucked up on a warm bed typing this, another thunder storm is brewing outside and I am safe inside. Gratitude is the dominant feeling I am going to sleep with tonight. Back to the trail tomorrow.