Friday, August 22, 2014

Back to the PCT day 3 Koko Lake to Shale Lake

August 16th
Day 3 Koko Lake to Shale Lake
Trail mile 2018 to 2030 12 miles

I slept well at Koko Lake and I woke up at 5am and tried to photograph the sunrise while taking care of my morning business.  The lighting at Koko Lake was surreal with all the burnt white trees and the green undergrowth.   Deer thrashed around our campsite just after sunset and I shined my head lamp on them to make sure of what they were.

Sun rise at Koko Lake

We agreed to do a 12-13 mile day and we wanted to camp near water so we set Shale Lake as our goal for the day.  I had Halfmile maps waypoints in my GPS, printed Halfmile maps, and topo maps in my GPS.  Route finding and planning was much easier for me this time around on the PCT.  We had to do 13 miles a day if we were to reach our resupply point at Ollalie Lake in 3.5 days.  Shale Lake was only 12 miles away but we figured we could make up that extra mile and we were a day ahead of schedule for our planned trip all the way to Cascade Locks by starting on the 15th. 

I left Koko Lake first; I was surprised how hard the morning hike was.  The trail gained elevation and I was so tired and a bit elevation sick too I think.  I listened to music on my IPod and it perked me up a little bit. 

It was really hot and the water sources were far apart again.  We got off to a late start because we were both tired, so we might get stuck hiking during the hottest part of the day again.   Aimless was having ankle trouble and she was hiking a little bit slower than me, so I hiked ahead to Rockpile Lake and waited for her there while eating lunch and filtering water.  I had been there about 1.5 hours and was just beginning to worry about her when she arrived.  She had taken a few breaks and that had slowed her down.  We both agreed that the morning climb was hard. 
Lunch at Rockpile Lake

We got our first views of Mount Jefferson today as we walked along the hot, dry and burnt ridges.  Mount Jefferson looked like a perfect pyramid with no ridgeline at all.    Most of the day was spent walking long dry ridges in out and of burnt forests with views of cool water below us.  How I wanted to jump into one of those cool blue lakes down below. 
Mount Jefferson


At about 4 pm I found a little tarn just hidden off the trail and I went for a quick swim.  After I got out of the tarn I discovered that I had a huge blister on my heel so I treated it with mole foam. 
Little tarn just out of sight of the trail
While I was treating my blister and swimming Aimless got ahead of me on the trail.  I caught up to her and saw here below me on a really long switch back.  When I caught her I learned that she had turned her ankle again and she was not sure if she was going to be able to continue with the hike all the way to Cascade Locks, in fact she might not even make it to Ollalie Lake. 

We made it to Shale Lake at about 7:30 and we found that the campground was almost full.  I asked around and learned that there was a campsite on the far side of the lake.  It was a poor and rocky campsite with no place to sit and very little privacy, but at least we had a place to put our tarp tents.   I was really surprised that there was no outhouse at such a popular lake.

Camping  "In the Shadow of Jeff"
I was so sore, kneeling down hurt, getting back up hurt, even rolling over in my tarp hurt.  I was wiped out!  I’m pretty sure that Aimless was also wiped out.  I could not remember the last time I had been that wasted.  Three high mileage days in a row had taken its toll on me, every part of my body hurt.  
Hunts Lake is way down there and we are so hot
 and thirsty and will we ever reach Shale Lake??
Aimless was maybe going to have to leave the trail due to her ankles.  I asked around and found out that the quickest way off the trail would be to head towards Hunts Lake and come out at the Pamelia Lake trail.  We would have 5.5 miles to hike tomorrow before we reached that junction and Aimless decided that once we reached the junction she would decide if she was going to leave the trail.  I knew that she really wanted to hike, so her ankles must really be bothering her for her to even think about leaving.   

We had hiked in 23 miles on the PCT and we had 23 miles to go to get to our first stop at Ollalie Lake.  I suggested that we take a zero day at Shale Lake but Aimless wanted to keep moving since we were so far out.   
The camp area was beautiful with Mount Jefferson looming above us just to the north.

We had deer in our campsite again tonight and towards sunset a family of deer appeared on the hillside above us.  My Delorme Inreach displayed some sort of error message that evening but with out my reading glasses on I assumed it was just a lack of satellite connections.  I was too tired to put my reading glasses on so I decided to try to send my check in message in the morning instead.

Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 4:
Day 5
Day 6:

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