a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
SOBO Mile 514.5 to 534.2 (19.7 Miles) - Woods Camp to Windy camp
Well. Not the best night's sleep we've ever had. Considering how beat we felt last night walking into camp we were expecting to sleep like babies. But I guess it takes getting used to, to sleep outside, so far away from other people. Every noise you hear could be a potential predator. Not really. But still, the mind can go crazy places when you feel so far away form civilization.
We get up at 6am after hitting snooze for a while. By now the sun is out, the birds are singing and it's going to be a great day! We pack up and hit the trail after 35 minutes. We're still as fast as before, that's unexpected!
Luckily we've hiked the entire 4400 foot ascent yesterdat so now we get to ridge hike for a while and enjoy the views up here. We find the most perfect breakfast spot after 2 miles and while eating our oatmeal, nutella tortillas and mayonnaise/cenovis/mustard sandwiches we watch a small plane flying over our heads multiple times. What a perfect day for a scenic flight around Mt Hood. Because yes, Mt Hood, the destination of our first section is right there, ahead of us. Completely covered in snow, looking majestic.
We pack up after 40 minutes and start hiking again. Finally I get some cell reception and contact our families to let us know we're doing fine and haven't run into snow at all yet. I also receive a text from Jerry King, who's part of the Search and Rescue Team in Portland and has been providing us with information about the snow in the area. Before hiking out we tried to gain as much intel about the snow conditions as possible. The PCT Facebook Group is a great source of information and is also where Jerry got in touch with us after I asked if anyone in the group was familiar with the conditions. So the text we receive from him is about a missing hiker in our area! He asks us to stay on the lookout for him, which of course we are happy to do. Hopefully the hiker is fine! Now the plane we saw earlier shines in a different light. Is it a SAR plane looking for the missing person?
The views keep getting nice as we head more and more into the wilderness. From up on the ridge we discover Mt Adams, Mt Rainier and Mt St. Helens, volcanoes in Washington we hiked on and around last year! And Mount Hood just keeps getting bigger right in front of us. So close and still a couple days away. We hardly meet any other hikers, this is definitely not like last year. The main reason being that the hiker bubble is way further south, now going into the Sierras or going around the Sierras in an attempt to evade the snow. But from what we've been hearing, there is snow all over the PCT this year. And we should hike right into it in a couple of miles.
My shoulders really really hurt. This is nothing new, they hurt almost every day last year too. But just before it gets intolerable we stop for lunch at Lake Wahtum, but not before running into some people from Search and Rescue, looking for the missing hiker who now has a name: Thomas. They still haven't found him, and neither have we. I really really hope he just got lost, but is fine otherwise.
We take a looong lunch break by the lake, soaking up the sun, eating ramen noodles and Roni pasta, a favorite of mine. When it's eventually time to start hiking again our bodies are aching. We are not used to this anymore! This is hard! My feet also hurt even though I love these shoes! I hope it's going to get better soon.
And then finally, we hit the snow. It comes in regular patches, so every couple of meters we run into another patch. They are relatively easy to go over or across, we're not worried yet. But we are also aware that there will be more, we have not yet made our way to the highest point. These snow patches we enjoy. It's kind of fun to walk in the snow, makes it all the more adventurous.
We had planned to hike 16 miles today, but every campsite we get to, we find that we don't like it. It's either too exposed and windy, or too far down off the trail. So we keep walking. After 19.7 miles we finally call it a day. Wow! Almost 20 miles on first full day. We never expected that!
We even have some cell reception and find out that they have found the missing hiker, who got lost as it turns out. A happy ending on a happy day. This is great news! We watch another episode of our favorite baking show (and only baking show that we watch) while eating our couscous with Indian curry. Yummy!