PCT 2007 – Day 148 – Gravel Lakes – Waptus Burn Trail

Day 148 8-20-07 Tarp Tent 5180′
Crest saddle between Ridge and Gravel Lakes – Junction of Waptus Burn Trail
24.5 miles; 2433.3 (79.36) total miles; 4277.9 trip miles
50, Rain, Day ? of rain
Days camped alone 27

2007 PCT Critter Tour General Category
1- Deer count is 132
2- Marmot count is 106
3- Elk count is 65
4- Pika count is 35
5- Goat count is 21
6- Slug count is 14
7- Bear count is 7
8- Rattlesnake count is 6
9- Martin count is 1
10- Badger count is 1

!!!After yesterdayís rain out, the Marmots moved 6 points closer to the Deer today. The Pikas and Goat also scored a point a piece!!!

I spent most of my night worrying about my leaking tent and my down bag getting wet. I never seam sealed it, so it leaks. It’s doing a little better tonight since it’s not raining but only misting.

Gloom surrounds me

I got up late hoping the rain might subside but it didn’t. I finally got all my wet shit packed and was moving by 7 or so. The trail is super rocky here in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It beats the tar out of your feet.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

The first part of the day entailed hiking around this giant bowl, which is really the head wall of a valley. I climbed up Alaska Mountain and between Eds and Joe Lakes. Then I continued to climb up to Huckleberry Saddle and Needle Sight Gap. At this point I was actually traversing the end of the valley over to Chikamin Pass. On the way over to the pass I came around a blind corner and there was a baby goat in the trail. He saw me and hightailed it up the trail. He must have run a mile north along the trail. It was funny to see him go.

I got to descend at Chikamin Pass to the Parks Lake area. I passed a southbounder doing a Yo-Yo. His name started with Bill but I can’t remember the rest. I then ran into Larz, the brother of Hansel or Gretel, who I ran into next. The three of them were doing a section hike. I then passed a father and son. Turns out the father (Allan Larson) raced in the Race Across America and won it on his second try. I just finished climbing when I met the father son duo. I then had a super long descent to Lemah Creek. Along the way I passed Spectacle Lake, Delate Creek and the Pete Lake Trail. I also passed two more sets of people. Both were couples out for a few nights. The last couple would be the last people I saw all day.

Leopard Frog?

I got water at a side creek of Lemah Creek. It was then time to climb 5.3 miles to the top of the next ridge. I counted the switchbacks and there were 23 of them. The climb was 2150 feet of elevation gain. I saw my first marmots of the day on the climb. I passed a cirque (a bowl-shaped, steep mountain basin carved by glaciation, often containing a small lake) at the top of the climb, then passed the spot I slept at when I hiked this section last year from the opposite direction. I went up and down as I made my way over to where I’m camped. I stopped for water at an inlet near the base of a bowl. I heard Pikas in the rocks but didn’t see them. I would see my only one of the day a little bit later when I saw some more marmots.

Low clouds surrounded me all day

When I got to camp I put up the tent then found enough dry wood to make a small fire. It was nice but since it was still misting off and on I couldn’t really dry out. I decided to cook dinner and then it was into the sleeping bag to get warm. Now I’m just trying to keep dry. I have a headache so it’s off to bed.

Scatman 2011- It’s a miracle I found any wood that would burn or had the energy to build a fire.¬† This day was very very long physically and mentally.¬† In terms of miles it wasn’t very long but it seems to go on forever.¬† The gloomy weather added no enjoyment to the day.¬† I hiked through low hanging clouds throughout the day and was pestered frequent rain showers.¬†¬† This section of trail is beautiful when it’s nice so I was disappointed not to be able to experience it again as I had before.

The video above shows how I was mentally trying to believe it would get better as the day went on and how it wasn’t a big deal but the look on my face tells another story.¬† Definitely not my best poker face that’s for sure.¬† How about that head of hair and that beard?

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Scatman

Get out there!

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