Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aug. 12 - Day 111 - the dry Cascades

From cowboy camp (Mile 1848) to Maidu Lake (Mile 1871.3)

PCT Miles today: 23.3

Up across Highway 138 today -- continuing through flat pine forests. Then we get glimpses of Mt. Thielsen in the distance -- and old rotted out volcano, whose hardened magma core still sticks up like fingers from its crumbly sides. We were hiking thirsty, since our mishap with the poisoned water cache. Diamond Lake passed off to our left, but we made no detours for its town-food pleasures.

On and up Mt. Thielsen -- beautiful, beautiful Mt. Thielsen.

Dionysus at Mt. Thielsen. Smoke haze is still following us from the south.

Pan on the trail heading toward a snow field.
The view back toward Diamond Peak.

But water was scarce, and we grew very thirsty until we finally reached Thielsen Creek at 1861.4. after 13 miles of thirsty hiking. Oh, what incredibly cold freshness. What a delicious creek. And it's a hot bright day.

Blessed Thielsen Creek!

We bathed our feet -- (they turned livid pink in the ice water melt). We drank ate, and drank some more. We met a south-bounder here who chatted with us about conditions up ahead.

On and on north, until finally we took the detour to Maidu Lake where other thru-hikers (Chris from Philly, Shutterbug from Portland, and others) were camped. We were too exhausted to be good company, so set up our tents (such mosquitoes, ugh) off to the right of the trail nestled in among hemlocks.

We sat by the lake on a log and made our noodles for supper. The lake was gorgeous ... but soon we were tucked into our tents away from the mozzies (no rainflies) and reading Terry Pratchett and laughing and laughing (Dionysus's laughter triggers Sean and mine). Hilarious and a happy end to a beautiful hard day.


PS. Some days later, after we had left these lovely mountains, another wildfire broke out -- this time near Mt. Thielsen -- and soon the PCT on Mt. Thielsen was closed off. Fires followed us about a week behind on north.

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