Stream Camp (2153.5) to Rock Creek (2166.7)
When I woke up I tried to be quiet and stay inside my tent a little longer. I didn’t want to wake Robert up. And so it was already 8 am when I hit the trail. Way too late for the more than 20 miles I had initially planned for today. Well, I’ll see how it goes. That’s what I thought when I approached the first climb. The trail started off as it had ended yesterday and I found myself in a shaded jungle like forest with big fern plants. It was nice! The temperature was just about right for hiking and climbing. I passed some information boards about table mountain and hiked until I reached the next spring. I had to camel up for about ten miles to the next reliable water source. The weight of my backpack was unbearable and it still was weirdly shaped because of my big food bag. Somehow dinner hadn’t made it much smaller…
I climbed up and up and up until eventually the landscape changed and the forest lost its jungle style. Instead sections of hiking through rock fields reminded me of the volcanic builder of this area. The higher I got the more views I got and so I could see the Columbia River as well as snow covered Mt. Hood in the distance.
I also passed some clear-cuts and remembered the words of my friend Nobody. He had told me about the clear-cuts and the vulnerability of the Pacific Crest Trail. Sometimes it was hard to believe that the trail corridor was something people had to fight for and that in some places it was as narrow as a couple of meters. But hiking through the clear-cut and passing one of the logging roads I could see and understand.
Eventually I made it to the top of my first 3000 ft climb in Washington and I decided to stop for lunch at a road crossing. For some reason I checked a spot on my hip where I had scratched earlier. I was shocked. A tick was stuck and already sucking my blood. Lime disease and antibiotics came to my mind… not a pleasant thought on my second hiking day on this stretch. Quickly I got out my tweezers and pulled the unwanted guest out. I had just started to prepare dinner when two ladies came past. It turned out that Joda and Bruises were thru-hikers who skipped around because of the snow. I was confident if they were here, then I could be here. But I should find out that they would only hike to Trout Lake because of the snow. That made me a little nervous I have to admit. But well, I’ll decide what to do when I get there.
I joined Joda and Bruises for camping at Rock Creek. It was kind of an early camp but the next campsite – the one I was aiming at initially – was more than 11 miles away and therefore too far.
It was strange. I had expected to be alone today but again I wasn’t. I saw four people and a dog and I am not even camping alone. We are camping very close to the creek and the noise of the water already makes me want to pee. I guess tonight I’d better use my earplugs!