Day 122: Tuesday, September 3

Tenting by Killen Creek (PCT mi 2252.9), walked 20.4 miles today

The PCT gods mocked my attempt to cowboy camp last night by sending rain around midnight. Played the always fun run-around-in-the-dark-desperately-setting-up-the-tent game and got back to sleep after half an hour. Woke up around 7 and left at 7:30 for 2.5 miles up and 2.5 miles down to Road 23, destination Trout Lake. About a mile before the road a wasp stung me good on my elbow and it still itches now, 12 hours on; I got to the road itself and waited 45 minutes for the first car to come my direction (2 cars went by the other way during that time). Was starting to wonder if Mt. St. Helens had re-erupted and buried the town of Trout Lake under a lahar when finally Beth and Alex, holidaymakers down from Seattle, passed by and happily pulled over for me. Squeezed into their rather full backseat and made it into town around 10:30.

Picked up my resupply box, had a soda, and was on the phone with Kristin on the store porch when Sherpa C and Fuller rode in in the back of a pickup truck. Went to the diner, the only show in town, for lunch with Sherpa and had very respectable tacos and salsa before arranging a ride back up to the PCT with local trail angel Doug. Just as we were about to leave the diner, I saw a familiar but very long-lost face outside, that of Hitch, last seen before Sonora Pass on June 30. I'd long given up hope of seeing her again, since when we parted ways she was leaving the trail for 9 days for some crazy Indian wedding, but she's made up some distance lately. She said she was camping 15 miles up the trail and that sounded reasonable to me, getting back on around 2pm, and I made it my goal.

The trail had superior views of Mt. Adams almost nonstop all afternoon ... I couldn't stop taking pictures of that stupid mountain and my phone's SD card finally filled up (I'm clearing out old stuff now to make room for the last few weeks of trail). The 15 miles weren't especially taxing and I was in by 7:40. Also present here were an Irishman named Hooligan and a Briton named TurboSnail. For the second night in a row my campmate(s) had a fire crackling for me by the time I rolled in ... Sat around with all of them talking this and that, and everyone retired for good around 9. Because Thursday is supposed to be an absolute blinder, to borrow TurboSnail's phrase, weather-wise, we're all going to try to hurry the 50 miles to White Pass and its motel by that night, even though I don't have to be there til Friday at noon to meet my mom.