August 11, 2015
Tentsite before Hwy 140 (1775.2) to Snow Lakes (1803.7)
28.5 PCT miles today
1844.0 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,550 ft, – 2,209 ft
Somehow, despite tired bodies and very sore feet, we managed to pull 28.5 miles today. It didn’t come easy, and it certainly didn’t come quickly. We have spent over 12 hours hiking each day so far this week, when usually we only hike for 10. Today we started at 5:50am, still donning our headlamps as we started out, and didn’t get into camp until 6:15pm. We couldn’t tell you why our pace seems to be on average slower than usual, but we can certainly feel the effects of such long days. More time hiking equals less time resting, and our feet are crying out for rest after a day like today.
We were forced to hike such big miles today because of limited water supply. There was a 12-mile dry stretch at the end of the day, which forced us to either carry tons of extra water for at least 6 miles or so, or just hike until the final source and not have to carry any water. We went with the latter, and were rewarded with a level campsite alongside a lovely little pond.
It’s worth mentioning that we finally got some views this afternoon, and most of the smoke that has accompanied our hike for weeks now has finally begun to dissipate. For the first time since Etna, we were able to look out and see actual layers of mountains covered in trees, instead of just imagining what might be hidden behind smoke. It comes as a great relief and gives us a little something to look forward to in the days to come.
After a couple “off” days, we are now officially back into our hiker zone, and the accompanying hiker hunger has hit hard. We don’t have any spare food with us beyond our ration, so we’re eager to arrive at Mazama Village near Crater Lake tomorrow to pick up our next re-supply. We won’t stay long at the store, just a couple hours, before we set off toward our next zero in Bend. We have set lofty goals for ourselves through Oregon, but so far we’ve managed to keep up, and we figure our multiple zeros with our friends will help balance it all out in the end.