PCT WA Day 3 – Familiar Grounds


Trout Creek Camp (2177.6) to Parking Lot Camp (2198.9)

21.3 miles

The night at Trout Creek was quiet after I put my ear plugs in. A light drizzle woke me up in the morning. After weeks without rain at home as well as in the desert the noise of drops hitting my tent was somehow unique. A nice and fresh smell of rain entered my tent door.

Hiking in my rain skirt
One of the friendlier signs at Szidlo Road

It was around 7:45 when I was up and hiking. After a small breakfast of Oatmeal with some freeze dried strawberries I was ready to get some miles in. It was nice and flat and looked very familiar as I made my way towards Panther Creek. The Forest close to the Creek looks a lot like a rain forest and you expect a fairy around every bend of the trail. The arriving at the creek I had to fill up water. It was another waterless stretch for about 10 miles. It was all uphill. 3000 ft total. I decided to carry less water up that mountain than yesterday. It wasn’t too hot and I refused to carry up more than the essential. A little over two liters would get me up.

Rainforest short before Panther Creek
Panther Creek

I started climbing and memories came up from the last time I had stayed at Panther Creek Campground. First of all it was the campground with the nicest and cleanest pit toilets I’ve ever seen! Second I had met Bryan, his daughter Kensy and their three-legged dog Harley. I could remember our evening together as if it was yesterday. We sat together at the campfire and although I am not too good with kids my goal was to make Kensy feel comfortable with me. Later that night she gave me one of her lights and it was the one and only time in my life when I felt like having my own little family. It was that night with Bryan, Kensy and the three-legged dog Harley. I remembered my feelings from climbing up the mountain for the first time and I could also find the Sport were the trail turned away from the Panther Creek Valley. In my mind I had said a final goodbye to my little family up there.

This time the climb was hard but doable at all times. Hard to believe that I could keep up with an Asian couple – thruhikers I am pretty sure. I ran into them at the campsite at the top and later when hiking along and thru a lava field which was quite cool.

After another 20 miles in I called it a day and pitched my tent close to a parking lot. There’s lots of spots around here and I am not alone. I share the site with Brolli from Ireland. My plan was to hike another 20 miles tomorrow and then have kind of a short hike into town the day after. There was a shuttle that was run by the locals of Trout Lake and I was aiming at catching the 12:30 one.

Hiking through an old lava field
Lava cave

As I was in a tight schedule I kind of tried to make some miles. Hopefully my body was holding up to it. My mind was strong as I thought a lot about my friends down in the desert. In many ways it felt wrong to be out here hiking while Donna was fighting for her life. Don’t get me wrong. I know it is a privilege to be out here. To have two working legs and two working arms. I try to enjoy the trail and my time out here. But there are those moments when I wish I could just use those healthy legs and arms to help my friends. I wish I could.

Crest Camp – a busy forest parking lot
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