PCT Hike – Day 5

PCT Day 5When I looked at my maps at Bobby Lake, I noticed that my next section of hiking would be abundant with wetlands. Lots of lakes. There is something delightful about setting up a tent near a lakeshore. I enjoy it. It is serene and it also gives easy access to filling up water bladders. Today I decided that I would hike to Brahma Lake which was a short 16 miles away.

The day proved to be quite uneventful in general. The hiking was, of course, beautifully deep forested and full of lakes along the way. There were no major elevation changes, just a simple soft step forward. I did lose power in my phone (aka camera), and the solar panel was having difficulty with my power cord as my power cord was not being very cooperative. So, I didn’t get very many pictures along the way.

I passed Charlton Lake, which was listed as a water and camping spot on the maps, so I decided to take the very short trail to the lake to see what it was all about. Beautiful, of course, and very quiet. It was also a great place to rest my feet which were getting increasingly cranky. My left heel was beginning to swell and create a crankiness throughout the left side of my body. It felt good to kick off my boots and soak my feet in the lake. There was one camper at the lake, though it looked like he was camping for a long term experience. When I left, I crossed over a dirt access road to the lake, which gave a great explanation to how all the stuff arrived for the person who seemed to be living at the lake.

Not too far from Brahma lake, I heard my first gunshots. Blech! I have an abhorrence to guns. Truthfully, the only thing they are meant to do is kill things, and honestly, enough things in this world die on their own. I wish we could stop destroying every last part of the planet. Okay, I won’t preach my gun philosophy here, but you get the point. Apparently, it was hunting season. Joy.

As I approached Brahma lake, I came across two Southbound hikers – Bottoms Up & Dakota. These were their trail names. I didn’t have a trail name, and the chances of me getting one as a solo hiker doing a section were highly unlikely. They were friendly and informative, and the one woman Bottoms Up, shared the same viewpoint on hunting that I did as she crinkled her nose at the sound of the 2nd gunshot of the day.

I arrived at Brahma lake relatively early in the day. As I came up to the lake, I overlooked the major camp spot that had a fire pit and veered off to the right to a spot that was fit more for one person. It was early in the day and the sun was about another 1.5 hours away from passing over the western tree line. I found camp on the East side of the lake.  Up went my camp and down to the water I went and set up my solar panel with my phone – there was an immediate BUZZ from the connection and I knew that my phone was getting charged. Excellent, I’d have more pictures taking opportunities.

As this was another opportunity for me to get some sun on my body that didn’t just include my forearms and calves, I stripped down to my dry-fit skivvies and laid out on a big rock near the water. I heard a woman on the other side of the lake say to a guy, “<gasp> do you see what he’s doing?”, with his response being, “it’s okay, please just be quiet”.  Apparently, this was her first time in nature, and he was a pro. A pro in full camo, fishing. I’m not sure how that combination works, but perhaps the fish just think he’s a big tree. He did catch a fish while I was there, but he also let it go, telling the fish to calm down that it would be okay. I respected that guy.

One thing I did notice as I was laying out on the rock like I was in Key West, was that I had lost all my body fat. Seriously. It was all gone. I had V-lines on my stomach that I haven’t had since I was in my 20’s, and I’m a very fit person in general. Day 5 and I’m skinny. This is going to be interesting. I was eating as much as I could stomach on a regular basis, but the amount of calories going out were just shredding me of any fat.

That evening I made ratatouille. I was skeptical on how it would come out when I was putting the recipe together, but I have to say, I’m a rock star chef for the backcountry. It was delicious. Rich, flavorful, thick and meaty. I was quite impressed. That will definitely go on my list for future backcountry meal making.

It was an early to bed night again, I was actually in my tent well before dark writing in my journal and looking at my maps. I decided to deal with the big blister on my right foot which was now from the underside of my big toe all the way through my right ring toe. (Is “ring toe” an actual toe name? Okay it was the little piggy that didn’t have roast beef.) Out came my scissors and my bandana, and I was prepped and ready with my bandaging. The amount of liquid ooze that came out left me with a questioning mind. How does that build up? This time it wasn’t just clear, but it was a little brown and colorful. I didn’t gag. It wasn’t the most pleasurable experience to watch, but as it didn’t hurt at all, it made it much more bearable. Drained and drying. Great.

Sleep came fast, I think I was actually sleeping before it was dark. I did manage to get a message to my trail angel Tim through the Delorme InReach which was my SOS and communication device (I highly recommend it). He was going to send out another pair of socks for me, as thick and heavy as he could find, along with a scrubby pad for my filter. What a guy! My personal trail hero and savior. I am forever grateful.

“There is always good and bad. Focus on the good while you are going through the bad”

1924-1940, 16 miles

Happy Trails,

Denny

Camper

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