Summit Lake and lava fields
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 24
It was frosty out this morning and the mosquitoes were moving slow, so I had a little time
to marvel at how beautiful Summit Lake was. I think it may be the prettiest lake on the
PCT. It sure looked nice this morning with mist rising off the water and trees and
snowcapped mountains in the distance.
I slept pretty well last night. The would be partyers were driven off by mosquitoes around
9:00 and it was just me and 20,000 of my mosquito friends in camp.
I planned on putting it a lot of miles today, but I was forced to make a two mile detour for
hot dogs and ice cream at Shelter Cove Resort. I left the resort planning on hiking until
dark, but I came upon a great cabin, barely visible from the PCT. It was on a side trail and
not even marked on my maps, but it's one of the nicest cabins I've run across in my
travels. I checked it out and it's clean, warm and most importantly, mosquito free. I had to
stop for the night.
It was a cold night in the cabin. The thermometer on the wall said 38 degrees when I
woke up. That's pretty well pushing the limits of my 40 degree sleeping bag.
As it warmed up, the mosquitoes began to drive me crazy. I took a detour on a jeep road
to avoid a swampy area. It added a few miles to my trek, and it was hot and boring, but the
bugs weren't too bad.
I made it to Elk Lake Resort tonight. I have a food package coming here tomorrow.
Everything here is insanely over-priced. I sprung for a shower, laundry, and a chicken
sandwich. I'm ashamed of how much I spent on it, so I won't say. It was a lot.
A couple of hikers lined up a ride into the town of Bend with a trail angel this morning. I
didn't have anything better to do, so I tagged along. It was a good trip. We had a big
affordable breakfast, then went to REI. The other hikers bought new shoes, and I bought
a mosquito head net.
We went back to the resort and my package was waiting. I paid the $5 fee to pick it up (at
least it wasn't $50 like Muir Trail Ranch) and loaded up my pack. I set off into the Three
Sisters Wilderness. It's beautiful out here. There's lots of snow on the trail and I got lost
once, but I only went a mile before I realized it. I'm surrounded by giant extinct volcanoes
and snowy meadows. Best of all, the mosquitoes seem to know I have the head net.
They've been leaving me alone all day.
It was just plain cold when I woke up this morning. I was wishing I had more of my winter
gear still with me, but glad I at least kept my gloves.
I left my campsite and only made it about a quarter mile before I slipped on an icy log and
cut my skin. It wasn't long after that that the trail became almost completely covered in
snow. I knew there were five hikers behind me, and I wanted to show off my route finding
skills and leave tracks that led right to all the exposed sections of trail. At first it was easy.
I mountain lion had been through in the night and left paw prints as big as my hand for me
to follow. Once the big cat left the trail, route finding became a little tougher. I got lost a
few times and gave up on hiking the trail. I came to a clearing with a nice 360 degree view
and set a course for where I thought the trail crossed the highway in 10 miles. It was an
easy route to follow since I was headed straight for a big mountain in the distance.
The cross country route went pretty well until I encountered a giant lava field. It was
basically a giant pile of loose lava boulders that stretched for 3 miles. I didn't like crossing
it. It would have been really easy to break a leg or get pinned under a loose boulder. I
went very carefully and made it across without incident.
I reached the highway an hour later about half a mile from the trail. I walked another 8
miles after that without running into too much snow, so hopefully, tomorrow will be a little