And that makes 120+ in four days

Miles: 2058 to 2088.5

Mileage: 30.5

Day: 98

It was another chilly morning spent in gloves and with my hood up. Ultimately, the change is nice. I remember spending nearly the first month of my A.T. hike in gloves wondering when I would ever be able to hike in bare skin. So, a couple of cool mornings is nothing to complain about.

Once the sun came out, things heated up.

Overall, the terrain was fairly flat. Just a couple of Oregon-style climbs (1,000 feet of elevation gain maximum spread out over two or three miles). So gentle.

We took a break near the halfway mark for the day to get water. I ate a sleeve of Oreos and enjoyed every bite. I rarely let myself eat Oreos in my daily life. And I try to appreciate each one on the PCT. They are also one of the rare trail foods that I refuse to eat while walking. It’s not hard to eat Oreos while walking, but it certainly takes some of the pleasure out of it.

The last four or five miles were spent hiking along the shore of Timothy Lake. There were many people camped along the shore at sites you could boat to. It was a Thursday night, so seeing so many people was a little surprising.

We found a bare spot where people had obviously camped before, although I think the Forest Service was trying to deter hikers from using it. Looking back, it was irresponsible of us, but in the moment I was tired from covering 120+ miles in four days and was willing to risk getting caught. And it’s not like we did as much damage as camping on the other side of the trail (which was open to camping) but would have meant clearing a new spot.

Camping along the PCT has very little regulation. I can only think of a couple of areas in all of California and Oregon where camp spots were expressly designated or expressly forbidden. And the resources available for thruhikers don’t mention many nice spots we’ve seen along the way. After a couple hundred miles into our hike, we decided to pick our goals for the day based on the mileage rather than the nearest marked site. Many spots marked in Guthook’s app or Yogi guidebook aren’t great. And many awesome campsites aren’t marked at all. So, most nights it’s simply a matter of finding the nearest flat spot.

We were near the inlet for Timothy Lake and the water was freezing. It was painful to wash off my feet. We had another cold meal — this time it was Ramen noodles. They hydrated nicely, but were not tasty cold.

We climbed into our sleeping bags and were asleep fast.

Former wildfire swath that was recently cleared of harvestable trees.
Former wildfire swath that was recently cleared of harvestable trees.
Looking north on the PCT through a former wildfire swath.
Looking north on the PCT through a former wildfire swath.

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