Day 120 (August 18): Mile 2,208.9 – 2,229.4

I Spy Trout Lake

Beginning Elevation = 4,800
Ending Elevation = 3,850
Elevation Range = 3,350 – 5200 (Off PCT) Weather: Sunny, high of 75°F

I decided that I would sleep until it was light outside so that I could find my way back to the PCT more easily than if wandering around in the dark. After packing up and doing my stretches, I was ready to rock. Around 6:10am, I began my bushwacking climb back to the trail. It really wasn’t bad. Very steep, but I took my time and created my own switchbacks where the shrubbery was sparse. In no time I was cruising on the trail once again.

As mentioned in the previous post, Snickers and I got separated last night due to my stupidity. But, no more than 100 yards down the trail I noticed an S with an arrow pointing forward drawn in the dirt. About a mile further on, there was another. I didn’t need my tracker training to suspect that there was a Snickers up ahead.

At 7:00am, I tracked him down. I apologized for miscommunicating and leaving him hanging and we chatted about our different evenings. I felt bad because he searched a ways for me. All seemed well though and we trekked on together. After a short while we came to a junction to an alternate route that I hoped to take. I told Snickers we could meet up ahead where it reconnected, but he opted to join, hoping for views.

We were rewarded for the somewhat tough climb, which was overgrown at times. It was the Sawtooth Mountain Trail that ran parallel to the PCT for 1.4 miles, but was up top on the mountain rather than traversing along side it. Stunning views to the east of Mt. Adams…

Back to the south of these guys…

And to the west of Mount St. Helens…

Best views in Washington we’ve had yet! Mount Saint Helens…I’d heard so much about it as a kid and there it was. Pretty powerful to imagine something like that having a volent eruption! We were happy to have taken our detour for a chance to get above the trees. A bit further on we had our usual breakfast stop. It wasn’t any place particularly special, just a picnic table in a trailhead parking area.

So yesterday photographing the mushrooms brought back a memory or memories I suppose from way back m when I was a wee lad. I used to love books like Where’s Waldo or I Spy, where there would be a list of things to find hidden within the picture on the page. In particular, one page of an I Spy book had come back to me, the one with a forest scene, much like what I’ve been seeing out here. And so, for whatever reason, I felt inspired to to make my own today. So for my nieces and nephews who check out my photos on here and to everyone else who’s up for the challenge, here you go…

Where’s Sumi? And my watch, Chapstick, a penny, two quarters, and a berry…

Ok ok, that was a bit too easy. So here’s round two that I had fun with later in the day…

Where’s Sumi? And my watch, Chapstick, scissors, a penny, two quarters, headphones, a mushroom, a pen, and two rubber bands…

I hope that provided more of a challenge 😉.

At lunch, we received some amazing trail magic once again. This was from Whistlin’ Pete, a PCT hiker who did the trail in 2017, and his family. Root beer, grapes, and candy bar for me!

The last 5 miles of the day dragged on. I know that’s aggressive language, but it was wierd, time seemed to slow. I was more tired than I should have been too, all in my head I think though. A joyful part of this stretch was the surpise encounter with a hiker friend from the southern part of the trail, Dock, the Dictator of Caring and Kindness!

He’s now doing a full southbound hike. I guess before when he was with us was just training for this expedition.

When I got to the road that led into the town of Trout Lake I met some folks about to start out hiking the section north to the border. And while talking with them an SUV pulled up and dropped off five hikers who’d been at PCT days. The driver, Happy Feet (2017 hiker) said he’d take us into town. Woo hoo!

We got into town around 5ish. Happy Feet hung out too saying he was going to make a plan for his return trip to Montana. Trout Lake must be small, although I stayed at the General Store the entire evening, so didn’t do any exploring. The store was great. They let us camp in their lawn for $5 with one requirement being that we had to wait to set up until after 8:00pm.

I had a great night talking with other hikers. I got the chance to talk more with Hockey who we’ve been leap frogging with on trail. I found out that he’s from Calgary and his last name is actually Hockey. And he loves the sport. There was some more specific way in which he got his name, but that’s the premise. He’s also the president of the Great Divide Trail Association in Canada!

I tried this Pacific Crest Trail beer too…pretty tasty!

I also found two guys from Grand Rapids, Michigan! One was called Base Bone and I forgot the other guy’s name. They are both section hiking and both in the Grand Rapids Symphony! Very cool to run in to them and hopefully we’ll see them on trail going north together.

Happy Feet ended up sticking around for the night too. And so we ended the night sitting out on the front porch if the General Store chatting some more. I learned he’s a traveling nurse and so has some flexibility with his time off and such. Very happy to have gotten the chance to get to know him a bit. As I said above, it was a great night. The only problem was I didn’t do any of my usual town stuff, so tomorrow morning might be a busy one!

4 thoughts on “Day 120 (August 18): Mile 2,208.9 – 2,229.4

  1. Emily Brittenham

    Steve! I haven’t posted a comment in a while (busy here with back to school stuff… Kids started today!) but I have been faithfully reading along and I look forward to each new post 😊.

    Claire was happy to see Sumi wearing the necklace she made. I will definitely show the kids the I spy challenge! They will love it 😀

    Your pictures through Oregon were gorgeous! I’m sure Washington will be lovely too.

    We miss you! I’ll try to catch up with you by phone soon.


  2. Sherry Hoekwater

    Glad you took the high road – the views are awesome.
    As for the “I spy” challenge I must admit I had to zoom in. The penny got me both times. 🤓
    It’s very interesting to hear about the different people you are meeting and re meeting. Also, I hope TW finds you back.
    Well, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed catching up as I lay on the couch in air conditioning… but now I must check on the wash, look at the bills, mow some lawn, fix something for supper… all those fun things. Hike onward Steve.
    Be here now. 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth Prins

    LOVED your creative offering of an ‘I Spy’ exercise! Letting the inner child speak is often the best thing to do. 😉
    The reminder to ‘Be here now’ seems like it was a gift of grace for you…….a gentle reminder to refocus your thoughts and not let the melancholy capture you.

    Liked by 1 person

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