Into Southern Washington
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 27
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I've decided to walk the jeep roads that run near the trail for the next few days.  I'm hoping
that walking on a fairly even surface for a while will help my foot.  It will also keep me out of
the snow, which I'm tired of.

I planned on taking it pretty easy on this stretch, but I found out at lunch that some sort of
woodland creature chewed its way into my food bag last night and ate quite a lot.  I'm in no
danger of running out, but I need to keep moving.

I saw another bear today, and this one didn't run away.  I came over a hill and saw a large
bear about 100 yards away nest to the road.  It was eating something in the grass and at
first I thought it didn't see me.  When I yelled, it looked up and went right back to eating.  I
tried more yelling, then started clapping my hands.  The clapping got its attention and it
started walking towards me.  I took off my pack and grabbed my ice ax, hoping to get one
good hit in before I was eaten.  I must have looked dangerous, because the bear turned
and walked into the woods.  Someone had taken the trouble to drive 40 miles from the
nearest town to dump a bag of trash on the side of the road.  That was the meal the bear
didn't want to leave.  I looked over my shoulder for the next few miles, but, as of now, I
remain uneaten.
Today's road walk was really nice.  The trail stays up high all the time, so I never see any
decent size creeks, but today I crossed dozens.  The best part was that nearly every one
had a waterfall.  All this water has unfortunately brought out my old friends, the
mosquitoes.  It seems I have to deal with either them or the snow.

My foot feels almost normal after two days of road walking.  I have about 30 miles left until
I get to my next resupply at the White Pass post office.  After that, I'll get back on the trail
and hope for the best.
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My road walk continued along a beautiful river in a deep valley.  It was hot in the valley, but
there were plenty of cool springs along the road to quench my thirst.  I made it out to the
highway and had no trouble hitching into town.  I was picked up by a couple in a Toyota
pickup.  I rode in the back next to a cooler of cold beer which they told me to help myself to.

Two beers later, they dropped me in front of the café in the town of Packwood.  I had a
pretty good burger and set up camp just out of town.  Tomorrow, I'll hitch 10 miles to White
Pass where I'll pick up my food package and get back on the trail.
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I had no trouble hitching to White Pass.  I was picked up right away by a retired couple in a
motor home who had hiked the Appalachian Trail.  They were more than happy to give a
weary hiker a ride.  I picked up my food box and relaxed for a while.  I read the trail log and
all any of the south bound hikers were talking about were the mosquitoes.  I hit the trail
and, sure enough, the mosquitoes were awful!  I'm sure glad I picked up the head net.  I
think it saved my life today.

Today's walk was a pretty one through mosquito infested forest clothed with hundreds of
mosquito infested lakes and mosquito infested streams.  Unfortunately, my guidebook
tells me about to enter one of the biggest clearcuts on the PCT.  As long as there are
plenty of mosquitoes, I should be all right.
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I woke up this morning to a cold miserable rain and set off.  The trail climbed up high to
places that no doubt had a nice view, but all I could see was fog.  I was able to find
something positive about the rain.  It kept the mosquitoes at day.

The rain let up as I climbed down toward highway 410 after lunch, and the sun even came
out.  Suddenly there were people everywhere.  There were day hikers, backpackers, and
tents everywhere.  I hadn't expected to see anyone, so the noisy crowd came as a bit of an
unpleasant surprise.  I decided to make the best of an annoying situation, and stopped to
chat with folks who looked like they might have food to share.  I made out pretty well and
scored some trail mix, 7 granola bars, and two Snickers bars.

I hiked on to the highway and past a trailhead parking lot that was packed with cars.  About
a mile from the road I came to a small lake surrounded by noisy campers and a little black
dog that chased me.  Oh, how I wanted to kick that dog, but on I went.

After the lake, the trail climbed 2,500 feet.  I was glad to be away from all the lazy people,
but it started to rain again.  It's still raining now, and it's downright cold in my tent.  I really
hope the sun is shining in the morning.
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