PCT 2019: Day 66, Reflection Pond to Wenatchee Pass

I got to keep on walkin'

When I flipped my hike to Washington and began hiking south, I removed a risk. I avoided hiking through the Sierra in difficult snow conditions.

This was my way of minimizing some of the risks that could possibly prevent me from completing my hike. Yet at the same time, I added a new risk when I took a few weeks off after finishing the desert.

Now, I face the possibility of winter returning before I have time to finish.

DateThursday, July 11, 2019
WeatherCloudy with brief mist or light rain showers, followed by partly cloudy sky; high temperature in the upper 60s
Trail ConditionsMuddy or rocky in some sections, several ups and downs
Today's Miles19.0
Trip Miles907.9

I’ve calculated that I will need to hike above what’s been my normal daily average if I wish to finish before the end of October. This is why I’m trying to be consistent in my mileage and keep it above 20 miles per day whenever I can.

This brings yet another risk, however. I’m not certain that I can consistently hike 20 miles a day over an extended time. I don’t know how well my body will hold up to that.

There were only five days on the AT that I hiked 20 or more miles. So far on the PCT, I’ve hiked just six days with 20 or more miles.

When I awoke this morning, the rain had stopped. The clouds were higher in the sky and I could see distant mountains, like Clark Mountain.

I was unable to view much of anything yesterday when I arrived and set up my tent at Reflection Pond.

I even saw a hint of sunlight striking the top of a mountain. While it didn't last long, seeing this gave me some encouragement that the weather would be better today.

I always seem to be a little bit slower to pack in the morning when everything is wet. Today, I didn’t leave camp until 7 a.m. despite my intention to hike 20 miles.

Six Pound had left much earlier than me, but Bumppo was still in his tent when I left.

Though I wouldn’t call it rain or drizzle, there was a mist in the air as I began walking.

On the next ridge, I saw deer feeding.

Another pleasant sighting was wildflowers along the trail. I hadn’t seen many yesterday.

By mid-morning, the mist had cleared but the sun still had not burned off the clouds. Still, the weather was gradually becoming better.

I was feeling sluggish, however. I felt as if I had no energy in my legs. I stopped to eat a Cliff bar for an energy boost, but it didn’t help.

I arrived at Lake Sally Ann at 10:30 a.m. I was still feeling tired, so I decided to stop there to eat a second breakfast and make a cup of coffee.

When I looked for a place to stop, I saw that Six Pound was there. She told me she was also tired. In fact, she was about to set up her tent and take a nap.

I walked around to the other side of the lake so I wouldn't disturb her.

My second breakfast and coffee helped a lot. I felt revived when I began walking again.

Clouds were beginning to open just a bit to allow sunlight to filter through, and that helped my mood.

About the time I began to think about stopping for lunch, I spotted Ralph on the side of the trail. He was napping while waiting for me.

We ate lunch together, then continued hiking south.

Bumppo caught up to us, so I introduced him to Ralph.

Later in the day, Ralph and I stopped and made an attempt to dry our tents. Unfortunately, the sun and clouds didn’t cooperate. Just as we got our tents laid out, clouds slipped in front of the sun again.

As we were packing our tents to resume hiking, a German scout troop walked by. None of them spoke English well, but their leader attempted to talk to us.

The boys in the troop appeared to be mostly in their late teens, but what struck Ralph and me was the troop only had one leader.

This wouldn't be allowed in a U.S. troop. The Boy Scouts of America has a strict, two-deep leadership policy. One-on-one contact is prohibited and at least two adults must be present during all activities.

After several trail ups and downs, I was slowly beginning to wear down. When we reached the bottom of a long descent at Wenatchee Pass, Ralph asked if I was okay with stopping.

I told him I was completely good with that, though privately, I was a little disappointed. I felt I had made too many long stops today and therefore hadn’t completed as many miles as I wanted.

Then I calculated how far I had walked and discovered it was 19 miles. That was a pleasant surprise and definitely acceptable.

True, I was tired, but I was beginning to think I had the stamina to keep my miles-per-day average high enough and finish before snow falls again on the trail.

I got to keep on walkin'
Oh I got to walk on
Let me tell you, y'all
I'm so tired
But I just can't lose my stride

From "25 Miles” by Bert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy, Edwin Starr, Johnny Bristol, and Harvey Fuqua


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.