Sunday, September 14, 2014

PCT Mount Hood to the Columbia day 3 - Muddy River to Chilly Ridge

Mount Hood to the Columbia day 3
Muddy River to Chilly Ridge
Trail mile  2120-2132   12 miles

Mount Hood from the PCT
We were up and moving at about 8am and our first task of the day was to cross the Muddy River on the slightly sketchy temporary hikers bridge.  We crossed the "bridge" with no problems.  Once we were on the other side of the river we filtered some water.  The next water would be in 5 miles at Lolo Pass.

Fording the Muddy River

We needed to do two 12 mile days in a row to make up for our short day the day before.  We began hiking up to 1,000 foot climb to the top of the PCT at 8:30, kind of a late start but we were moving slow because we had to pack up in the rain and we had to filter water.

Waking up the hill in the mist


It took us two hours to go two miles up the trail and 1,000 feet in elevation.  This was not a good way to get started.  We were only going 1MPH and we now had 9 hours left to hike 10 miles. 

At the top Aimless  needed to stop and eat.  I was hungry and cold and worried about the time, so I told her that I would wait for her at the camp at PCT mile 2132.  There was supposed to be water near the camp and it would put us exactly 12 miles down the trail to where we needed to be. 

Before I left I jokingly asked her not to fall into a river or get lost because if she did, I would feel guilty about leaving her.  She smilled and said "anything can happen".  But the PCT was to be a very straight forward ridge walk for the next day and a half, so I was confident that Aimless would arrive at camp around 7:30 PM.  

This is where we parted 3 miles from Lolo pass

Cool and misty on the ridge today, a trail
head parking lot for Sandy River is down there
I walked without a break until I reached Lolo pass.  At Lolo pass I found and filtered the water and I stopped to eat a power bar and take a sponge bath and then off I went back up the trail towards the ridge. 

Trees thin out right before Lolo Pass

Lolo pass

The PCT at Lolo pass

On the ridge I found a king bolete to add to my dinner.  I was rationing my food and I was just a little bit hungry for this entire trip, a mushroom to add to my cook pot was most welcome.

(one mushroom, two views)

Shortly I realized I had lost my pink camera bag and I use to keep my camera dry when it is raining.  I did not want to go back for it, so I hoped that another hiker might find it and bring it to me.  I marked off the miles on the trail so that Aimless would now how far it was to camp.  I made marks for 6,5,3,2.5,2 and 1 miles.

After a bit a thru-hiker passed me.  Thru hikers are much faster than I am so they always pass me.  Just after the thru-hiker passed me he stopped to chat with two south bound flip flopping thru-hikers.  I did not stop to talk and I told the thru-hiker that he was just going to have to pass me again in a bit.  In about half an hour he did pass me again and I thought to ask him if he had found a pink bag on the trail.  Yes, he had found my bag and he gave it to me.

I followed him for a little while and we chatted.  I was actually able to keep up with him for a couple of miles.  Wow!  I was able to keep up with a thru-hiker!  But as soon as we hit an uphill section the thru-hiker left me in the dust and I never saw him again.  I think his trail name was Ambassador.  He told me that he had been hiking with his brother but his brother was getting up too late each day so he left his brother behind.  He said that each day his brother was falling a little bit farther behind him.  This time of year thru-hikers should be out of Oregon and into Washington if they want the best odds of making it to Candada before the snow starts to fly in the Northern Cascades.

At 4pm I reached our campsite at mile 2132.  It was not a nice campsite at all and I really wanted to push on to something better, but I figured that Aimless would not be up for a longer hike and this was where we had planned to meet so I better stay put.

The campsite was windy and dark and uneven.  I only found one place where I could pitch my tarp and I had to pitch it with the front down hill and the back just inches off the trail.  Ray Jardine says that you should sleep with your feet higher than you head, so maybe this would be okay.

After setting up my wet tent in the wind I headed out to find the water.  The water turned out to be 3/4ths of a mile from the camp and up a hill.  I was so tired, I really just wanted to camp, I did not want to fetch water.

The spring was not much to look at, the pipe was missing and it took me quite a while to filter three liters of water.  I filtered extra water for Aimless because I figured she would not want to go fetch water if she arrived at camp at sunset.  I kind of doubted that she would take any water from me though.

The spring where I filtered water

Looking down to Lost Lake on
my way back to camp after  retrieving water.

After I was done fetching water I cooked dinner and cleaned my feet and went to bed. 

Two hikers passed by while I was in my tent so I yelled to them  and asked them if they had seen Aimless, they said that they had not seen anyone since Lolo Pass.  Uh oh.. that was not a good sign at all.  Had Aimless gotten lost again?  Perhaps she had just camped at Salvation Springs I told myself.  Both of the hikers commented on how huge my tent is.

Aimless never did show up that night, I had no idea where she was and I did not like being alone on the creepy cold ridge.

There was a constant wind blowing through my tarp and I was cold. Damn this windy ridge! I put my ground cloth over the back vent of my tarp to try to stop the wind from blowing in. The ground cloth stuck to the back of my tarp like glue without flapping at all, that is how steady the wind was. I also piled up logs around the edges of my tarp to cut back on the wind.

I put on all my clothes, including my rain gear and I went back to bed.  But I was still too cold.  Damn this windy ridge!  In desperation I put a trash compactor bag over the foot of my sleeping bag.  This would cut the wind and help my feet to warm up, but at a cost.  The cost could be a wet sleeping bag due to condensation inside of the trash bag.  My feet warmed up nicely with the trash bag over them and soon I was able to take the trash bag off my feet and dry out my sleeping bag and I stayed pretty warm for the rest of the night.
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

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