After frolicking with the Otters I was feeling giddy and alive, and of course it was time to trek the next unknown segment of the PCT. It was a chilly start to the day. I kept my knit hat and gloves on, but toughed it up and started the trek out only in my dry-fit T shirt. I figured I’d warm up rather quickly carrying a small portable house on my back. I was also anxious to get moving to get further away from the smoke zone which had turned my nasal mucous into a black and bloody mess (don’t be jealous).
The leisurely trail this morning led me through an abundance of lakes all the way up to Shelter Cove at Odell Lake. As I did not have a package there waiting for me, and it was relatively early in the morning, I decided to pass through a friendly PCT Hiker spot, crossing the road near the Sno Park at Williamette Ski Resort on Highway 58. This was one of my first big road crossings and it just seemed that everyone was driving an 18 wheeler going at least 120 miles/hour. I’m sure that wasn’t the case, but after slowly trekking through the quiet of the wild for half a week, loud is loud.
I immediately came upon a Wilderness Message board at the trailhead. It was covered in BEAR posters. Welcome to Bear Country! The very animal I was most hoping to avoid. Not that I’m afraid of being eaten alive by one, or by being mauled by one to an inch of my life and being left undiscovered slowly dying in an unknown part of the woods by myself, but I’d just rather avoid the interaction completely. Uh, for the bears’ sake of course. Ehem. Anyway, I barely got 20 steps onto the trail and right down underneath my foot was my first bear foot print. It was probably about 5-6″ long from heel to toe and the track was pointing in the direction I was going. Great, maybe we can have 2nd breakfasts together. Twenty more steps and on the path is another bear print, half the size, like a cute little baby bear and heading down the trail towards where I just came from. Okay, off came my pack, and on went my bear bell onto my trekking pole. I may have started singing at this point as well. As I was winding my way deeper into bear country, I came across two southbound day hikers (who were quite friendly), that were staying at Shelter Cove Resort. They said they hadn’t seen any bears but had seen plenty of tracks.
Today’s lunch was Pop-Tarts (organic ones from Trader Joes). It was really my first “treat” since leaving camp a few days ago. I was hungry when I stopped for lunch in the middle of the woods and these pop-tarts tasted amazing! A very short time after lunch, I came across Lower Rosary Lake. I have seen beautiful lakes before, but this one was absolutely breathtaking. It was a lake that had a high pitched “rock” of a mountain behind it, with crystal clear water showing a beautiful caribbean blue. Again, if it had not been early in the morning, this would definitely have been one of my camp spots.
There are three Rosary Lakes, Lower, Middle and North. Each of them was quite beautiful. The trail passed around the lakes then started ascending up with a few long switchbacks. I passed into a very condensed part of forest where I couldn’t see further than the first grouping of trees to my left and right. In comparison to the tall trees that you can see under as you hike, this felt very tight and foreboding. There is nowhere to go if something should happen. In an attempt to not panic, I looked down the pathway towards what I could see and stepped quietly and lightly. The movement to my left gave me quite a start, then left me completely mouth gaping open in awe. A large brown owl took off from its perch and with an expansive wing set began to fly down the pathway away from me. I honestly do not think I’ve ever seen an owl that big before, and definitely not that close. If I had not been so stunned, I probably would have attempted to get out my camera and take a picture.
Walking along, I saw this small little side trail leading away from the main trail. I gave it a glance over, but did not see anything that gave it a remarkable viewpoint. It had no trail signs and I couldn’t tell where it went. Ten steps later I noticed something shiny over my right shoulder in the general direction of the trail and saw a log cabin with a solar panel on its roof. Now, I know that there are some folk who probably have property out in the wilderness areas, but this was all of 200 yards away from the trail. Curiosity got the best of me and I walked slowly up towards the cabin announcing my presence should anyone be home. It was beautiful, large timber cut cabin with plenty of windows, a chimney and a big covered outdoor space next to an enormous fire pit. The windows had no coverings on them, so I peeked inside and found a giant open-spaced room with chairs and a few games surrounding an enormous wood fire place. On the back of one of the chairs was painted “Williamette Valley Nordic Ski Patrol”. How very cool! Now I know why there were trail signs a good ten feet above my head. I couldn’t figure out why they’d put signs way up there, but if there is 6 feet of snow, they’d be about eye level for some.
My destination of the day was Bobby Lake. It was a beautiful lake 1/4 mile from the PCT trail. As I arrived at Bobby Lake I noticed there weren’t any other campers around. There was a big fire pit that overlooked the water. Camp! I dropped my pack, set up my tent and my camp, filtered some water and gathered some wood for my first camp fire. I noticed that the asshole birds had arrived at the same time (I do think they followed me from Crater Lake). These are grey birds with black stripes who have no fear of humanity at al,l and are quite aggressive in attempting to take your dinner. Tonight’s dinner was 2nd burn chili. Burns on the way in, burns on the way out! I slow cooked it in my little pot on the coals of the fire. It was absolutely delicious.
After dinner, I went down to the lake to wash out my dishes and noticed that a yellow jacket and a big dragon fly were struggling near the water’s edge. The lover of life in me grabbed a stick and lifted the yellow jacket out and put him on a log, then I did the same with the dragonfly. The yellow jacket was taking its time recovering, but the dragon fly got up almost immediately and flew up towards the tree. It happened so quickly, but one of those asshole birds swooped right out of the sky and gobbled up the dragonfly! That F*cker! Two seconds later another asshole bird came down and snatched up the yellow jacket. I was so unhappy.
I found myself going to bed earlier and earlier, foregoing the evening skies for some deeply needed rest. So off to bed I went. Fortunately for me, I have a bladder the size of a miniature pea, and the call of duty came just in time. I was standing not far from my tent giving back some water to the world and directly across the lake was the full moon rising above the tree line. WOW. It was absolutely beautiful and bright. I walked down to the edge of the lake and soaked in the moonlight for a little while before returning to the comforts of my warm sleeping bag, where I sat up inside of my tent and watched the moon drift across the lake a little while longer.
In the morning, I arose in time to see the sun rise in the same place the moon rose the night before. It was a beautiful way to start the day. Coffee, Oatmeal, Poop and Pack! I was ready for a new day!
1908-1924, 16 miles