Day 152 8-24-07 Tarp Tent 2877′
Campsite at a saddle – Vista Creek
28.9 miles; 2545.3 (79.36) total miles; 4389.9 trip miles
70’s, sun, and clouds
Days camped alone 31
2007 PCT Critter Tour General Category
1- Marmot count is 150
2- Deer count is 133
3- Elk count is 65
4- Pika count is 61
5- Goat count is 21
6- Slug count is 15
7- Bear count is 7
8- Rattlesnake count is 6
9- Martin count is 1
10- Badger count is 1
!!!Today the Marmots added to their lead, while the Deer could only muster one point. The Slugs and Pikas also scored a point each!!!
Well yesterday I lost my camp towel and today it was one of my Crocs, camp shoes. I think my mind might be next! I honestly think it’s going to be my body but I won’t let either stop me.
I got up and going by 6:18 AM this morning to ensure I could get through this tough section and get the miles done I wanted. My tent was dew covered as usual and it was a wet morning with all the dew on the grass and plants along the trail.
I descended right away and crossed a swelling creek a few times before getting to my first obstacle, the White Chuck River. I was told about how to cross it but forgot until I saw the plank across one section. This plank was 4″x10″ and about 8′ long. It went from the bank to a cluster of rocks, in mid river. The only problem was it was 1) wet and 2) slightly unleveled. Plus it went down as you went out. I tried to stand on it and it was like grease. I tried again and said no blanking way! I sat down on the plank and shimmied across. I looked like a fool, but it was better than the alternative, falling in a raging river in the middle of nowhere and dying. Once to the rocks I had to hop across a few large boulders, wet slippery ones, of course, and then climb up a huge tree that was on a 45 degree angle. I got across safely and found a trail crew working on getting the area ready for the new bridge. I said hello and moved on.
I made pretty good time to Baekos Creek, stopping briefly to say hello to a woman in her tent. At the creek I found a Playboy with the tools being used to put in new stringers for a bridge. I took a short break to do some “reading”. This crossing was a snap. There must have been 25 trees across in just the first 50 upstream. I found one that took me all the way across.
I passed Chetwok Creek and then Stikum Creek. I made a descent through nasty brush and got soaked on my way to Kennedy Creek, which was the second hardest. I was pretty high on the logs I choose to cross on. Once across I came to a junction with the Kennedy Ridge Trail 643A. At this point I started a really tough climb up to Glacier Creek, passed Pumice Creek and Fire Creek to finally reach Fire Creek Pass. The views on the way up were simply incredible. It was great!
I had lunch on top of the pass. I used the break to dry out the tent and other damp items. I didn’t want to take too long of a break since I didn’t know the condition of the trail ahead. Plus I knew I had one of the hardest climbs since the Sierras coming up.
I descended to Mica Lake which was beautiful. It was icy blue since it was mostly glacial run-off. I continued switchbacking down losing 2750′ in the process. At one point there was a mud slide and the trail just stopped and there was air. If you weren’t paying attention you could have walked right off. I had to back track and find a way around it. Towards the bottom the brush got to be ridiculous. I learned what a trail looks like after 4 years without maintenance. I had some big blow downs to get around/over and finally I came out to Milk Creek. As I battled more brush to reach the creek bed, I came to another mud slide and also ran into two flip floppers, Bear and Loon. I got down to where they were at and asked Bear if he found my Croc to send it to me.
Loon met me on the AT in 2001, and when I left Lake Morena, CA on the 28th, I met him again just as I was leaving the campground. He said he thought he’d be seeing me soon. They gave me the scoop on the trail ahead and I did the same. We wished each other a safe and happy trail and went our own ways.
I now had a 2.5 mile climb at a 8.5 grade. The brush on this side was just as bad as the other. I now had the sun on me though. Climbing with all the brush, can only be described as try tying an elastic from one foot to the other and take bigger steps then the elastic. It was brutal on the legs. When I got to the top, I still had 2.1 miles more of climbing to do. I got to a rock I could sit on in the sun and had to take a break. The climb kicked my ass. I was so tired while sitting on that rock. It was a mental tired since I had forgotten I had to climb after the first tough section.
I made it up and the views of the North Cascades was amazing; but I thought the view from Fire Creek Pass was better. I descended/traversed a glacial bowl. I got water since I felt dehydrated, plus my shin started to hurt like it did in the Sierras. I reached a ridge and then started a 5.9 mile descent from 6010′ to 2877′. I was only supposed to go 4 miles, but I was looking for a “signed campsite beside Vista Creek”. I found a campsite but it had no “sign” and was a couple hundred feet above the creek. I pushed on by this site, which I now believe was the one I wanted. As result I hiked the 2 mile section Loon warned me about – major blow down of old growth trees and very slow going. I got to camp just before 8 PM. I’m right next to the creek on a nice little flat spot just inside the trees. It’s loud since the creek is right there, but I’m too tired to care. I set up camp, cooked, and now I’m typing this. What it’s really time for is bed, 5 days to go!
Get out there!