“The things one focuses on the most end up becoming one’s belief systems, and once those are established, they are very difficult to readjust, change or break down.” – From the Spirit of the Trail – Gemini
I awoke this morning bright and early and to a general BUZZ of life around me. After I got out of my tent, I realized that there were an abundance of Yellow Jackets swooping around. They seemed to be quite attentive to my tent. I didn’t hang around long. I had my camp coffee, oatmeal and my morning movement, then hit the trail.
According to my maps, today would continue a descent around the back side of Three Finger Jack with a long low-lands trek, then an upward and circumnavigation of the Western side of Mt Jefferson (one of my favorite mountains in the Cascade Range).
I passed through some amazing wilderness today. My left foot is being quite the crank. Toes, heel, achilles and now my left quad is cramping up consistently. Oi! I’m doing more hobbling than I am trekking. There were also a lot of spider webs today as we had some misty raindrops last night.
I met a young man on trail today, Travertine, who was heading south on the PCT. Bright, energetic, insightful, journal writing adventurer who is out for one year in the wild to find himself. Kudos to him for his journey.
There was one “creek” crossing along the way that left me doubting whether or not I’d survive. The water from the glaciers was coming down hard and fast, and it was no mere creek. If the depth of the Russell Creek were a river, these would be at least a class 5 rapid. There was even a warning on my map that said, “Milky glacial water, can be dangerous crossing.” The big boulder in the picture that sits in the middle of the creek towards the end of the trail was bigger than I was. I actually walked up and down the side of the trail looking for the best cross-over point, second guessing every potential pass over. Eventually I just had to cross. I knew that if I fell in, not only would I be wet, but I would be tossed down the creek a bit before I could get my footing again. In terms of “danger” on the trail, this was the most dangerous part of the trail I experienced (besides the possibility of getting hit with a stray bullet).
I got to Jefferson Park mid-day. This is definitely the most stunning environment of my journey to date and I will be coming back here again just to spend some days exploring this part of the wilderness.
I am camped on the North side of the park next to Russell Lake. To say the view is stunning would be an understatement. The early fall foliage on the deciduous trees and specifically the huckleberry patches, which are abundant, give the whole landscape a deliciously warm and rich glow against the stark high peaked glacial face of Mt. Jefferson.
I set my tent up at a designated camp spot and took a few short strides down to the lake. I plunged my achy feet into the icy cold water and it felt wonderful. I washed all of my clothing and then washed myself. The coldness of the water was so refreshing. There was no way I was getting INTO the water, so I used my bandana as a washcloth. After 10 minutes of a foot ice bath, they were numb and cold and ready to come out. It looked like the ice had reduced some of the swelling in my feet and toes. It was very refreshing to have clean feet again. I do believe that this was the dirtiest I had ever been in my life, or at least, the dirtiest for the longest period of time.
Today I had dessert after my Rice and Beans. I packed a Backpacker’s Pantry Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. It was way too much for one person. Rich, creamy and delicious, but I force fed it to myself anyway. No one can let that chocolate goodness go to waste.
I did some yoga before I went to bed and stretched out my legs and back which seemed to have helped quite a bit in the over reacting quad cramping.