PCT Hike – Day 8

PCT Day 8I didn’t sleep much at all last night. First, I had to pee about every hour because I had two beers at dinner. Then I was constantly thinking about not being able to get through the PCT at the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. As soon as it was light enough to get up without disturbing other campers, I was up and packed and I headed down to the Elk Lake Restaurant. Unfortunately, they were not open until 9:00 am.

I messaged Tim to check on the pass situation, and he responded back letting me know that all PCT through hikers can get through without a pass as long as they stay on the PCT trail. Good Goddess, I hope so!

Breakfast was delicious. A couple of eggs, potatoes and toast! Yes Please! I said my goodbyes to Shelly and Alan, and began my trek up to the PCT Trailhead.  Today I would be entering the Three Sisters Wilderness. The Three Sisters are three snow capped mountains right next to each other. From Elk Lake, I could only see the South Sister.

Meadow Path South

My pack was heavy after loading up with all the food, but my legs were rested and felt stronger than they did a week ago. The trail heading towards South Sister was beautiful. Lots of meadows with a single person pathway cut through. I love pathways, there is something magically mysterious and inviting about walking along a path.

Towards the beginning of the day, I came across two brothers (Sean and Todd), who were hiking the Oregon portion of the PCT. They were hiking North like me. We ended up playing leap frog for most of the way. (They blogged their travels here: outhiking.wordpress.com).

Obsidian Wall South

Approaching the South Sister, you pass through a very long low grass meadow with a single path. Upon the Southern entrance, you come across a GIANT talus pile that had to have been over 100 feet tall that stretched for about a half mile. To say I felt small next to it would be an understatement. In the picture (if you click on it, it gets bigger), you can see a person on the trail to the right of the field. That gives you some perspective.

That person in the picture, incidentally, I met at a water stop shortly after. We got to talking about hiking and where we were from. It turns out that he lives only four blocks away from me. I find that kind of insanely incredible, that two neighbors, who are strangers could be out in the middle of wilderness hundreds of miles from their homes and meet.

I also met another group of hikers doing the Three Sisters Loop (a 2-3 day trek around the mountains, which I may consider as a future trek), who reaffirmed that PCT hikers do NOT need an Obsidian Limited Entry Area permit. WHEW!

Meadow 2

I hiked a lot today. Well, it seemed like a lot. I hiked a lot of UP today. I eventually ran out of water at mile marker 1974 (which happens to be the year I was born), so I took it as a sign that I needed to find my camp spot for the night. My neighbor had mentioned that he was going to camp at Husband Lake. So when I looked at my map and saw that the trail head leading off from where I was standing went to Husband Lake, I decided to take it down the extra 3 miles to camp there.

When I arrived, neighbor had just gotten there and found himself a camp, and there was one other small group there camping as well. I found a great spot overlooking the Husband – a mountain just West of the Sisters.

I was in bed relatively early, and of course arose once for an after bed water relief. I’m glad I got up. The stars were out in full force. I can’t even begin to explain how I see stars now. No one sees stars like that anymore. I imagine most people who look up at the night sky, see a bunch of white dots and wonder what all the darkness is. It is amazing to me, how much depth there really is, and how if you can see into the darkness, the entire sky becomes multi-dimensional and you find it is anything but flat. What you are seeing are solar systems near and far. The depth is staggering.

Husband Camp

I went back to my tent, and sat inside looking out the door to the Husband across the lake watching the stars shine brightly around it. In the contemplative mode that I was in, I had two visions. The first came in the form of a song – A lot of explanation of when things aren’t going your way, when you’re feeling pain or sadness or loss, all you’ve got to do is just give it love.  This became my mantra for the next week. The other thing that came to me while I was there is how much of a dualist universe we experience as a human. We experience a yin/yang, hot/cold, left/right, in/out, masculine/feminine, up/down, black/white kind of world. What we see and experience is typically a blend of two opposites. Sometimes our mind focuses completely on one extension of that opposite, so we experience it solely, but in truth, since you cannot have one without the other, it is only the mind’s focus that keeps you embedded in that one-sided experience. Pleasure does not exist without pain. It is impossible to experience one without knowing the other. This is attachment and aversion, part of the understanding of the Kleshas found in the yoga sutras.

My left side and my right side both want the same results, they just have different approaches. Neither is right, neither is wrong. And in understanding this, one side of me can be compassionate to the other. I can become the one who gives me what I need. I can be the one who nurtures me. This night, my trail name was given to me, not by a person, but by an experience and an environment, the Husband. I am the twins of duality. I am the center of opposites, the place where the two come together, both experiences happening simultaneously. I am Gemini.

mm 1959-1974, plus 4 side trail miles. 19 mile day

Happy Trekking


Denny Path


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