Rose about 5:30 a.m. and was all packed up and ready to go when “Boston” and “Cubby” strode by. Boston is from Boston, so that’s easy, and Cubby used to be called “Bear” but it’s not cool to be hollering “Bear!” down the trail or around camp, so it was changed to “Cubby” because she’s petite like a bear cub.
We chatted a few minutes and we were off – they were going much faster than I – they’re upwards of 30 miles a day – and they were in search of water as they had dry-camped the night before and really needed water now. I met up with them again at Upper Rosary Lake where Boston was fetching water from the lake and Cubby was adding the drops. We talked about the SteriPen which I have versus the drops which they use. Apparently there have been some failures with the SteriPens – a certain small percentage malfunction. I’ve never had any problems with mine, and I love it.
They were off again, after re-supplying with water, and I saw them only one last time when I caught up to them where they had stopped for breakfast further up the trail. I stopped for breakfast a little later, at a wonderful rock outcropping overlooking all three Rosary Lakes and Crescent Lake in the furthest background.
I readjusted my pack and took off again, and the next stop was the Maiden
Peak Ski Shelter, which is the most amazing ski shelter I’ve seen yet! It has solar powered lights, one set for the loft upstairs and one for the lower level, a cast iron wood stove inside, tables, bunks, chairs, and someone has even put duct tape on a table top to create a chess board! Outside is a wood storage area and a large fire pit with logs
strategically placed around for seating. Very well done! I read the log book and discovered that Chance had been there 3 days prior, WeatherCarrot had been there yesterday, and Big Jon had just left a few hours before I arrived there – he had spent the last night there.
After entering my ditty in the log book and admiring the shelter for awhile, I took off again. Along the trail are the most amazing
mushrooms and snow flowers – I’m pretty sure the mushrooms are edible but I cannot remember what kind they are. The snow flowers remind me of the ones we used to see in the Lake Tahoe area when I used to trail guide with horses up to Echo Lake. I took a ton of pictures of the beautiful snow flowers, because there are supposed to be many many through-hikers
coming along the trail, and it seemed this might there last chance for survival – through a photo!
A little further up the PCT another trail crossed it, Trail 3595, which goes up to a small peak. I had just passed the crossing and looked back and thought I saw something moving in the woods uphill from me…stood still and watched. Sure enough, it was a beautiful golden retriever named Jen, and right behind her were Sarah and Bre. We chatted a few minutes and they said they were headed to Charlton Lake and that they were camped there, and that they’d be happy to give me a lift. Charlton Lake is where I had decided to camp that night also, so it was going to be my final destination…it was a hard decision. On one hand I could be there within half an hour, on the other I could walk the remaining 5 miles to get there.
Then Sarah tempted me with a beer! A Sierra Nevada, even, not just an old Bud! Now I was truly listing toward the ride to the Lake…but finally in the end I decided to hike. I am out here for the beauty, the serenity, to get back in shape and because I’ve wanted to hike this trail for 20 years. How weak of me to be tempted by an ice cold beer on a hot afternoon with five dry miles in front of me! So I declined with many thanks, and trudged onward.
The miles seemed to never end, but finally I arrived at the Charlton Lake Trail, and made it out to the shoreline about ready to drop, only to discover this was a destination car-campers paradise, and practically every place you could pitch a tent was taken! Finally I asked some folks tented on the water’s edge if they minded if I pitched my tent on the other side of the log from them. They didn’t mind, and I set myself up, and took a swim…and who should be paddling in a canoe directly toward me from across the lake …Sarah and Bre! They pulled ashore right where I was camped and Sarah
asked me if I’d found the beer she had left for me in the middle of the trail! I was astonished and pleased that she had done that, but it turned out she left it on a different trail than I had entered on, and someone else had nabbed it already. But what a terrifically sweet thought that was for her to do that! I was quite touched!
Later that evening I met “Ruffwork” – he set up his tent directly behind mine in the woods a little more, behind a fallen log, and looking at his set-up I was sure he was a PCTer: he was. We got to talking and he’s a techie who
telecommutes from Portland working for Microsoft and carries his i-Phone with him – uploads all his journal entries and answers email from the trail wherever he has a signal, which is often! He showed me some of the wonders of the i-Phone and of course I was blown away! Today’s technologies are astounding!
I went to bed that night, but never got to sleep. Car-camping campgrounds are not the place to be on a Saturday night. There was a group somewhere of about 5 or 6 youngsters, it sounded like, and several older people, probably in their 20s, who thought the campground was some kind of game sight for either hide-and-seek or some other come-find-me game, and the amount of shrieking and hysterics that emanated throughout the forest and around the campground all night long was enough to wake the dead! I finally got perhaps two hours of sleep in the wee hours of the morning, and when I finally dragged out of my sleeping bag Ruffwork was already heading out on the trail, and the sky was red with warning. What a great beginning!