Up and At Em. I was up early today. I had my feet on trail by 7:00 to head back up the long, slow and leisurely 3-ish miles to the PCT trail from Husband Lake. As I got back on the PCT to mile marker 1974, the Brothers arrived from their camp spot a couple of miles back on the PCT.
Off I went, still playing the imaginary scenario of Ranger Patrol at the Obsidian Limited Entry area. I was just west of the Middle Sister and had yet to see any sign of the North Sister. I’m sure it’s there somewhere, hiding behind the middle mountain.
The early part of my day was delightful. Lots of amazing viewpoints and pathways (you know how much I like pathways) on my approach towards the North Sister. Then she came into view. How spectacular to have three beautiful, yet completely mountains with such stunningly different terrain right next to each other.
There it is, the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. No rangers to be seen anywhere, no hikers, no camp spots… On I go!
Okay, I didn’t get stopped by any hot studly ranger in the middle of the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. In fact, I didn’t see one person at all on the very short 2 mile stretch that the PCT goes through. But WOW, was it pretty. Big trees, water falls, streams glinting in the sunlight, mountain tops, glaciers and the STONE! Obsidian jet black, and other types of rock full and rich in color. It was quite a sight to behold.
After passing through the top side of the North Sister, I began entering Mordor. Seriously, this place was full of jet black lava rock as far as the eye could see. It wasn’t long before I was cussing like a truck driving sailor either. Hiking with a backpack on in lava fields sucks! I bumped into a Southbound Sisters loop hiker somewhere along the way hoping she was going to tell me that the lava trail path that I saw going UP the butte in front of me was NOT the PCT. She said it wasn’t, that the PCT cut off just before it. I could have hugged her.
The North side of the mountains offered a spectacular view of what was coming up. Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack and Mt Jefferson and just to the right of Mt Jefferson, you can see a tiny little Mt Hood! Home!!
The ground was pumice, and very unstable with each stepping foot. It was quite a beauty to look at, but horrible to hike on. You have to use all your stabilizer muscles to even stand up, because each step is a slip and slide re-step just to keep from falling down. I met up with the brothers again somewhere around a very pretty lake. They were enjoying lunch. I trekked on attempting to make my way to Lava Camp just south of McKenzie Pass for the night’s camping spot. It is listed on the maps as a campground with water.
I got to Lava Camp around 4:30. There were about 20 cars in the parking lot, there was no lake to be seen from the trailhead. I saw camp spots, and at one of them some sketchy activity with two guys and a duffel bag. I avoided that like the plague. After about 15 minutes of roaming around, I found the lake. It was more of a lakelet, with lots of bugs on the water. The camp spots were just what you’d expect at a group campground. There was one family on the side of the lake with two screaming kids and two mini-vans full of “camping gear.” I don’t understand why people need to take their entire homes with them to go camping. It just boggles my mind. Luckily for me, it was Sunday and the family soon packed up and headed out. Ahhhh, silence again.
The brothers ended up at Lava Camp also and set up where the family was. The brothers were having conversation about Trail Miles vs Feet Miles. For example, though today was an 18 mile trail day, it was more like a 25 mile feet day because they were doing so much work. I have to agree. Today was definitely a Feet Miles day. I filtered my water and ate. The asshole birds showed up again. Gosh I don’t like those things.
Into the tent i went to look over the maps. At my current pace, I will get to Olallie Lake a day early. Perhaps it is time to slow down my pace a bit. I think I was in bed sleeping at 7:00.
mm 1974-1988 +3 from Husband +1 to Lava Camp = 18 mile day