Tuesday, August 21, 2012

21 August - Day 120 - Majestic Mt Jefferson

From Milky Creek (Mile 2035.5) on the slopes of Mt Jefferson to Jude Lake (Mile 2057.6) in Mt Hood National Forest

Total PCT Miles Hiked Today: 22.1

Pan here.

Four months to the day since we began this epic adventure. And we still look forward to the surprises of each day -- and love being here (though, of course, "love" is not the only response we have to the catrillion challenges we face).

Today was a day of stunning scenery. (Oregon, you just keep impressing the hell out of us.)

Here's Mt Jefferson from our campsite as the sun rose behind her.

Our campsite nestled in alders and mountain maples.

We woke during the night to the sound of light showers on the tent roof. Rain! In four months, we have only had real rain twice! It came and went until the sky got gray around 5:30 am. Then clear skies. We piled out of the tents and looked up at the huge glacier-draped peaks of Jefferson above us, and the clouds around the crown broke out in "Jesus rays" (Dionysus's term for melodramatic Hallmark card too-good-to-be-true sunbeams thru clouds). Wow.

I fixed coffee while Seano & Dionysus packed. We had hiked through deep, tall conifer forest to camp here in this avalanche line grown with dense maples, alders, mountain ash, and hazelnut. And now, in the morning light, we could see early autumn in their leaves. Beautiful and strange. Autumn already?
Indian Paintbrush and mountain heath blooming alongside the trail.

Mt. Jefferson as we moved on across the valley and up the other side of the mountains. We could see the smoke from the fire on the left of Jefferson.

We hiked over the subalpine volcanic landscape, gingerly crossing roaring creeks cloudy with glacial milk, glissading down snow fields, and picking huckleberries.

We reached the reroute the forest service has set up to channel PCT hikers around a large area that's closed due to the Waterfall 2 and Ollalie fires. What an arduous reroute.

Helicopters and spotter planes in the distance punctuated the incredible stillness of the woods. And always the great wave of smoke piled up in the east.

We stumbled into camp tonight footsore at a quiet lovely lake. Now we read that the closure has been expanded. We are just outside the closure - according to the Forest Service website - so we are lucky. But so many other PCT Hikers must be stuck out west and south of us. Unhappy time for them.

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