PCT 2019: Day 94, Timothy Lake to Jude Lake

Long distance runner, what you standing there for?

As I mentioned yesterday, the mileage I hike per day needs to start picking up if I’m going to complete the entire PCT before winter arrives.

By the time I finish hiking today, I will have finally reached the halfway point of my hike. With today being my 94th day on the trail, if it takes me another 94 days to finish, that would push my finish date well into November. That’s too risky for me. There’s too much chance of snow falling that late in the year.

Keeping the weather in mind, I’ve calculated I should try to finish by the last week of October. That's assuming snow doesn’t force me off the trail sooner. Even with the change in plans I made to hike a double flip-flop with Sunkist and Bluejay, this is still cutting my chances close.

To put this in perspective, I’ve averaged 14.1 miles per day in the first 93 days on the trail, including zero days. To finish the last week of October, I will have around 80 more days on the trail, and that will not only include zero days. There will also be extra travel time required for flipping back and forth between trail sections. This means I need to average more than 17 miles per day.

In other words, unless I’m hiking into a town or taking a zero, I will need to walk more than 20 miles a day for nearly all of my remaining time on the trail.

DateThursday, August 8, 2019
WeatherCloudy, becoming partly at mid-day, then turning cloudy; high temperature near 70
Trail ConditionsTwo long, moderate climbs and descents, followed by one easy climb and descent
Today's Miles26.4
Trip Miles1339.9

These facts may seem worrisome, but I’m trying not to dwell on them. I know what I need to do. I just need to go do it and that starts today.

As Bluejay, Sunkist, and I looked at the trail ahead and possible camping spots, we saw a few climbs, but none appeared to be steep. The camping options seemed sparse, so we settled on Jude Lake as our destination. This would make today's hike a little more than the distance of a marathon race.

Sunset last night was at 8 p.m. When I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. the sky was still dark. The days have shortened by about an hour on either end from the amount of daylight I had when I started hiking south in Washington.

I was back to the usual pattern Dave and I had when we were hiking with Sunkist and Bluejay. I left camp about a half-hour after they did.

I made an early stop to collect water and got plenty of it. I filtered 2.5 liters because the stream that fed into Timothy Lake was more convenient than getting water from the lake and probably of better quality. What’s more, the next water source wasn’t for another nine miles.

The trail then crossed Forest Road 42. On the other side was an elaborate gateway, which seemed akin to the entrance to Jurassic Park without heavy doors to keep in dinosaurs.

Just beyond the gateway, the trail entered Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The route would zig-zag in and out of the reservation for the next several miles.

The 1,019-square-mile reservation is governed by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, which are the Wasco, Tenino (Warm Springs), and Paiute Indians, and is home to more than 4,200 residents.

The downside of having an easy section of trail is that it isn’t likely to provide many distant, majestic views. That was certainly true for most of today.

The day could be described as monotonous, and it didn't help that there were few hikers on the trail. I also never caught up to Sunkist and Bluejay until I reached camp at the end of the day.

One of the only views in the morning appeared when the trail crossed a power line cut. This was something that happened frequently on the Appalachian Trail.

Much of the day was overcast, but the clouds began to clear for a few hours during the mid-afternoon. As the sun came out, the temperature rose, but not as high as yesterday.

Later, the trail also became more exposed in a few sections due to clearcut logging. In some of the views, I could see the entire area was a patchwork of bare sections and trees of various growth stages.

Other open patches were exposed because fields of volcanic rock prevented trees from growing.

In the opening of one clearcut, I got a partial view of Mt. Jefferson, about 18 miles away. My view of it was mostly blocked by Olallie Butte, which stood a little under eight miles away.

The next two opportunities to get water were a short distance off the trail. Though I probably should have stopped to get some, I elected to keep walking so I could arrive in camp sooner.

Just before 6 p.m. while making the last climb of the day, I passed the number "600" written in sticks and pine cones. It was another reminder of how far I'd walked since touching the Canadian border, but was still less than half of the trail I have completed so far.

A few steps farther, I turned to look back and to the north I saw Mt. Hood. A layer of clouds surrounded its base, making the mountain appear to float in the sky.

As I got close to the vicinity of Jude Lake, I received a text message from Sunkist through my Garmin InReach device. She gave me directions for finding the campsite, which I was soon grateful for.

When I got closer to where Sunkist told me to take a side trail, I realized I probably would not have easily found it without her directions and might have walked past the campsite. It wasn’t visible from the trail.

There wasn’t a lot of room to pitch my tent. Besides Sunkist and Bluejay, there were four or five other tents in our immediate space, plus a couple more nearby. I also saw three hikers walk by after I was set up. They were also looking for a place to camp.

It had been a long and tiring day. My feet hurt, but I was not as exhausted as I might have presumed I would be after walking a little more than a marathon’s distance.

This was the farthest I had walked in a single day and it felt surprisingly good.

Long distance runner, what you standing there for? 
Get up, get off, get out of the door 
You're playing cold music on the barroom floor
Drowned in your laughter and dead to the core
There's a dragon with matches that's loose on the town
Take a whole pail of water just to cool him down

Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain

From "Fire On The Mountain” by Robert Hunter and Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead)


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