Miles: 22.65
Camping: Maidu Lake, 1 mile from PCT mile 1872.69

Somehow I slept in until 6:30 this morning. I couldn’t believe it, but was fine knowing I only had to hike 22 miles today. Today was not going to be the kind of day where I felt pressured to move any faster than I wanted. The storms didn’t last too long, but everything was wet from rain this morning. I packed up a wet camp and headed North after my morning routine. I wasn’t sure what had happened to everyone else last night, as the storm likely forced them to stop where they were as well. Were they together? Were they separated by thunderstorms? I wondered if I’d see them today. Maybe by the water. People come together around water out here.

Though I was down to 2 liters and had eaten 3 meals out of my pack, the weight still seemed cumbersome. I struggled a little but took lots of mini breaks to give my back a rest. It seems to be wearing on my feet too, as they are also extra sore today. It is the big bone just below my big toe that hurts the most, on both feet. This seems unusual to me, but I just keep walking, accepting the foot pain reality as my fate. Time allowed for extra rest today, so I took full advantage of that. It’s nice to know that I don’t really have to hurry anymore. This is way more enjoyable.

There haven’t been a lot of big views in Oregon since we are mostly in trees. Even when a view does open up the close proximity of the fires makes everything smoky. I had a great view of Mt.Theilson all morning as I walked its flanks, and later I was able to spot some big lakes off in the distance. I took afternnonsies at the OR/WA highpoint, feasting on M&Ms and nuts. It was 7,560 ft., which is sort of anticlimactic after the Sierra. Mt. Whitney was twice that high! I guess it will help to not have any more huge elevation gains though.

I hiked 1 mile off trail this evening to camp at Maidu Lake. It’s supposedly the best water for a long time. There is a spring 6 miles ahead, but I hear it is hard to find a good flow on it. The detour doesn’t make a big difference either way. The lake is big and primitive, making it peaceful and relaxing. I seem to have the whole place to myself too, which suits me fine. There are a few ducks swimming around, and they make fine company. I haven’t seen anyone else all day aside from a nice man named Roger headed in the opposite direction.

I’ve just finished up dinner (split pea soup and dark chocolate for dessert) next to the lake and a baby skunk scuttled by a moment ago. I hope it doesn’t get curious about me in the night. Tomorrow I hike to Crescent Lake (only 22 miles again…this is the life!), where there is supposed to be great camping, and then Shelter Cove by lunch the next day. I’m still moving right along!

Mt. Thielson
Maidu Lake