Tenting at Brahma Lake (PCT mi 1939.7), walked 25.7 miles today
The PCT threw a welcome back party for me today ... Everything was just right--temperature, light, scenery, lakes, huts, you name it--and I felt fully hale and healthy for the first time in a good ten days. Was hiking by seven, having made it through the night and early morning hours without detection from the Willamette Pass security team. Passed the tidy Rosary Lakes after a few miles, then after a few more came to the Maiden Peak Ski Hut, which handily wins the prize for most awesome shelter on the PCT (Eugene people: we need to come back in the winter sometime). Took a long break there, then pushed on through the most benign, sun-dappled conifer forest you can imagine for 7 or 8 miles.
At length I made it to Charlton Lake, which was very blue and very soothing. Remembered as I was sitting there a conclusion that I've previously drawn, which is that lakes are my favorite body of water ... I was raised near the ocean and I like it, I've worked on rivers before and I like them too, but with apologies to my many friends who are enthusiasts for either of those, I can't think of any place I like more than a lake surrounded by big green trees. They're what started my love affair with the North Shore in Minnesota, and I was really very happy sitting by Charlton Lake in the sun today. I started out my break there alone but was soon joined by a middle-aged couple who are bikepacking (a new term to me) the area with their dog, Wiley. We talked for awhile about thru-hiking ... The husband even shouted, "Jesus Christ, man!" when I told him I did 25-30 miles per day normally. Normally I get expressions of impressed-ness or disbelief from non-thru-hikers when I give that number, but his reaction was especially notable for its vigor and profanity. They may also be reading this blog, because I gave them the address, in which case ... Hey, guys!
Eventually I had to leave old Charlton and keep hiking. By the time 7pm rolled around, I had attained Brahma Lake, my goal for the day. Again, the PCT rolled out the red carpet and offered me a postcard-worthy campsite right on the lake with the evening sun accenting everything just so. Washed my legs in the lake (it's been so dusty that I feel like Pigpen from Peanuts because I literally am travelling in my own waist-high dust cloud most of the time, especially if there's a breeze at my back) and then chatted for a bit with my campsite neighbor, Ken, a section hiker from Eugene. Mosquitos feasted upon my blood during this time but they're still mild compared to anything from the middle of California. As I was writing this and it got dark, another couple named Brad and Melissa showed up and set up camp. Tomorrow the goal is to get a little past Elk Lake Resort after 20 miles in order to be in range for McKenzie Pass and town the next day.