PCT Day 111 : The Day A Chipmunk Posed For Me

July 24 (~08:15 – ~19:30)
Before Stormy Lake – Upper Rosary Lake (26.2 mi / Total: 1911.7 mi)
Total PCT miles: 1642.3
Weather: Sunny and increasingly hot.

I get going a little late, which proves to be a bad judgement call with regards to the mosquitoes. When I wake it’s still dark, and I notice few. But I finally emerge, they descend on me en masse, and I barely make it out alive with my improvised headnet and the insect repellant.

I wear the headnet for most of the day, apart from a blissful section in the morning walking around a mountain top covered in logged trees, and during one of the most relaxing lunches I’ve had so far. I stop off at Charlton Lake and there’s something so peaceful and serene about it, just being there is a delight. Most lakes I pass are good looking but at the end of the day they’re all quite similar, but this is the one I love.

After lunch, the day continues through the forest and past more lakes and ponds. Every moment is like the one before, and most of it is just like yesterday. The mosquitoes come back in full force, making the day quite dreadful. I can’t stop or have another break, and I’m started to feel drained. The trail has lingered below 6000 ft all day, and it’s not until the end of the day that I have my last big climb, to well over 6500 ft – although I get no views to speak of.

Only the last moments, just before the trail directs down again, a view of the Rosary Lakes becomes my first panoramic of the day. I follow the switchbacks down and find a chipmunk with some food on a rock. I’ve been wanting to take pictures of these little creatures forever, but they’re just too fast, always on high alert, always moving away from me. But this one is big and just sits there, posing.

When it finally scurries off I put my pack down at the very first tentsite I see, at the top of the Upper Rosary Lake. I was reading the comments on Guthook – there weren’t supposed to be any mosquitoes, but there are. Thousands of them. It’s horrendous. The back of my legs are covered in bumps. Oregon is proving to be something different. I wonder when the forests will end, when the mosquitoes will stop. Another eight days left in this state.

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