Day 130 – Panther Creek to Blue Lake – 33km

Officially trying out ‘Turkey Dee’ for style. Nows my last chance. Also if any of us want to try to smooth and blend out those shorts tan lines we better start now! We woke next to a beautiful rushing river. After crossing Panther Creek on the footbridge the PCT immediately began a steep switch backed ascent up The Gobblers Knob. I had looked at this climb a couple of days ago and had not been looking forward to it. 
Breakfast took place after a steep yet energising 3 miles up the spur. It was chilly and we all chattered while sipping our cowboy coffee. Another 7 miles to the top of the 3000ft climb. It took us mostly through 40 year old re-growth forest. The amount of moss is increasing and the short green undergrowth and towering pine tree arches make for a cathedral like quality. The forest today has been beautiful. I can’t wait to see some actual old growth forests in Washington. 

We caught a glimpse of Mt Hood and Mt Adams on the top of Big Huckleberry Mountain at our mid-morning break. We continue for a short 4 miles for lunch at a piped spring and descend further down into the next valley. We have to get used to all these ups and downs because that’s what Washington is looking like from here out. 

The afternoons trudge was exhausting. My body is weary from this morning, and the 8 days that I took off means re-setting a few things. My heels are rubbing for no reason, my shoes haven’t changed, and all the callouses on my feet are falling off. My latz back muscles are really tight and my gluteus muscles are giving me grief for the first time. 

The trail descents gently and walking is very pleasant through mossed gullies between lava flows and ridges. The lava flows are back breaking up the forest into sublime meadows. From the topographical map it appears we are walking past shallow craters. The last 5 miles of the day manages to sneak in a final 2000 foot climb. Wow today has been epic! We break on the top . I am out of water and the wind has picked up. We decide to just walk 2 more miles to Blue Lake for camp. The lake is quite quaint, nestled in the hollow of Gifford Peak. The wind and clouds have rolled in and the temperate drops. The lake is still warm for a swim though! 

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