a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
Miles 690.1 to 705.9 (15.8 Miles + 2.4 Miles to and from Elk Lake Resort, Total Miles: 18.2)
Mesa Creek Camp to Dumbbell Lake Peninsula Camp
We manage to get up really early and hit the trail at 05.30am. It's freezing cold, but wow, this silence, the deep blue sky not yet illuminated by the sun... it's magnificent. And worth getting up for before the sun.
The snow is hard, the next climb will definitely be easier than if we had done it yesterday in the afternoon. It turns out to be a very steep climb, straight up the mountain instead the relentless switchbacks we are used to. There is no point in following any trail, it's easier to just take the most direct route up there. We reach the meadow on the top and marvel at the beauty surrounding us. All we can see is a blue sky, the snow covered ground, grey mountains and green trees. It's so so peaceful. This meadow, we later find out, is called Wickiup Plains and the next couple of miles are just incredibly beautiful. We are hiking in snow, it's crunching beneath our feet, we make good progress. Those plains to me instantly become one of the best parts of the whole PCT. We can see many footsteps here, some of them really deep. It looks like we would have needed to do a lot of potholing in softer snow, and are so relieved we are doing it in the morning when the snow is still hard and icy!
Eventually the trail leads back into the woods where we have to once again look out for the trail. It's not so easy to follow it because it's never straight, always like a snake winding through nature. The last real climb of the day and then we finally reach the top where we planned to have breakfast. And we have cell reception, yaaay! I realize I've got some messages from my best friend. Listening to them we find out that her soon-to-be-husband had a terrible bike accident and is currently in surgery. I call her immediately and am relieved to see that she's doing okay, that Dani will be fine. Still, what a shock this close to their wedding! Well, we are very happy to know that he's not in a life threatening condition or expected to suffer from this accident longterm. A lot of broken bones and ribs, but this is fixable and he will be fine. Get better soon Dani! I can't stomach any food now, but Dario is more than happy to eat my share of breakfast. After a while we get up and start our hike down to the Elk Lake Resort. Food! Drinks! Ice cold water! Bathroom! Lake! The trail is snow free on this side of the mountain and before we know it we reach the junction to the resort. Another 1.2 Miles and we reach it, order water, cokes, burgers and a caesar salat right away, and dig right in.
While we dry our tent in the sun we lie down as well and have a nice, long nap on the lake shore. Sooner rather than later we decide to hike back to the trail before we get sucked into the vortex of chilling and hanging out with locals on their weekend. After filling our water bottles and buying a new fuel canister we hike another 5.4 miles and reach the most picturesque lake ever! Dumbbell lake is absolutely incredible! There is a peninsula in the middle of the lake where we decide to set up camp, surrounded by water on 3 sides! We set up, take our clothes off and jump straight into the ice cold lake! Finally we (and our clothes) are having a wash, it was about time! We're still feeling pretty full form our generous lunch at the resort and just watch some Netflix before going to bed rather early. What an awesome day!