Today was a shamble, but I manage to walk 43km! I didn’t sleep the night before. Too hot and agitated, covered in mosquito bites. So when I was woken up at 5am by an alarm I was in a fowl mood. I walked out the front wanting to get in a better mood and by breakfast I had mellowed.
We hauled ass and did 5.5 miles before breakfast. Shivering in the damp woods we sipped coffee and did another 5 miles before our next break at 10. The path had come above the forest floor and was following an abruptly rocky ridge line up a mountain. The climbing was gradual and we got views out East to a large inland lake and south back to Mt Mcloughlan.
At mid morning break I managed to use the last of Mushy’s 100% deet repellant. This Sky Lake region is notorious for bad Oregon mosquitos. I then set out first and after only 0.7 miles I took the wrong turn and decended 1.5 miles down to Sky Lakes. It was only after 25 minutes of walking down steep rocky switchbacks, taking the occasional photo that I thought, wait a second, I think I’m still meant to be climbing. After checking the gps I turned around and started the ridiculous walk back up hill. It wasn’t too bad, but I definitely needed a break. I check the gps again and realise to my exasperation I still have 4.3 miles before lunch. Some kind of adrenaline kicks in and I manage to get over the next 3 climbs and down to lunch in an hour and 20 minutes. On the way over the north edge of the last pass there is a few mounds of snow. I’m in a rush to get to the others so i dodge round them without thinking, scrambling down shaley rock faces. When I get to the lunch spot I koowee to the others. I hear a koowee back! Yay! After all that they had only been there 15 minutes. I must have zoomed through that last section.
Lunch has a beautiful vista north, toward Crater Lake. It looks like there is a fire in a valley to the west of the PCT. I have already walked 17 miles so I’m exhausted and make the most of the hour and a half by the stream. We have 10 more miles left and then one extra to get down to the spring from the next tentsite. We pass lots of streams on the way down but then nothing for the last 5 miles. The ridge that Jack Springs is on has been burnt and everywhere looks like a potential campsite.
When we get to camp Medic is already there getting a fire together, the only way to ward off the mosquitos. Everyone goes down to find water apart from me, it’s a 1/2 mile bushwhack down through burnt forest to the spring. I thankfully tend to the fire and massage and stretch. Biggest day on the PCT so far!