Daily Miles: 15
Total Miles: 80
Last night was our coldest night of the trip. We were camped on the edge of a meadow, at a low spot, so things got pretty chilly. Annika and Frank had ice inside and outside their tent as the condensation froze.
We got a really early start at 6:20am today, so everyone had extra layers on as we left camp. Annika had on two long sleeved shirts, her poofy coat and her rain jacket, plus a stocking cap and gloves. She kept that all on for several miles, even going uphill.
We had decided to start early, because we had plans to meet Sonja at 5pm at the Echo Summit parking lot, where she would rejoin the hike. We were all really excited to have her back. Because we had a full day, but needed to be finished earlier than normal, it made sense to start early. We also knew we’d have to keep an eye on the length of our breaks.
It was beautiful light as we started out this morning. The trail was quiet and we made good time to Round Lake. We had camped at Round Lake when we hiked the TRT in 2014 and it was one of the worst mosquito experiences we’d had. Today it seemed like the legend of the Round Lake mosquitoes continued. We stopped nearby for a breakfast break and some laundry, but we ended up fleeing up the trail to get away from the mosquitoes. We ended up spraying our legs with bug spray and pulling on our windshirts and bug headnets. The bugs just seemed so relentless. We ended up walking with our headnets for several more miles.
After Round Lake we came to the junction with the PCT. That junction seemed to be the start of seeing lots of hikers during the day.
The wildflowers today were incredible. Large fields of flowers…some fields of just purple lupins, some fields of indian paintbrush, some a mix of many different kinds. We even continued to see new types of wildflowers today. There was so much extra water crossing the trail today, so surely the wet summer is helping the wildflowers.
We did have some snow patches to cross, but there wasn’t anything sketchy. It seems like the snow is melting quickly…even being out on the trail two weeks ago would have surely been a much different experience.
We took a break at Showers Lake and realized that we had made pretty good time with our miles so far today that we could even get to camp and take a nap before Frank and SweetPea had to walk a half mile off trail to meet up with Sonja. Since we were all pretty tired, the idea of a nap was motivating enough for us time our breaks and to limit “packs off” breaks.
Things fell apart a little in our last few miles of the day, when the trail started to descend rather steeply. That really slowed us down and we started to just get really tired. By the time we got to camp and set up our sleeping shelters, Frank and SweetPea only had a few minutes to rest before they headed down to meet Sonja. Beardoh and Annika stayed back and relaxed.
Luckily it was just a short half mile off trail, where Sonja was dropped off by a trail angel named Connie. Sonja had sorted the resupply for everyone when she was in town, so Frank and SweetPea hiked down with empty packs so they could help haul up all the new food. It was such a big help for Sonja to bring the resupply so we didn’t have to deal with fitting in the time to get the resupply done.
It was great to have Sonja back with the group again tonight. We all cooked dinner and sorted our food together. Luckily the mosquitoes weren’t too bad at that point, so we were able to just hang out and chat.