PCT Day 112 : I’m The Olivia Palermo Of Thruhiking

July 25 (~08:20 – ~20:45)
Upper Rosary Lake – Summit Lake (21.6 mi / Total: 1890.1 mi) (+2.6 bonus miles to Shelter Cove Resort)
Total PCT miles: 1663.9
Weather: It’s getting hot!

By the time I get going the mosquitoes are in full force again. I try and stuff everything in my pack as quickly as possible, and then I run. My morning is a short one. It’s only about 5 miles through the forest to a side trail that leads to Shelter Cove Resort, a campground at Odell Lake which has a small shop and serves hot food.

I arrive around 10:30. It looks like a restful place to be, and they’ve set up a tent for PCT hikers, with a hiker box and electricity. I plug in my electronics to charge, leave my bag around one of the benches and head for the store. They have a little bit of everything, and after some nosing around I go to the window to order food, and get a coffee and a breakfast burrito, which surprisingly tastes great. Then I do my chores. The WiFi isn’t strong enough to upload any blog posts and I just about manage to look into the replacement gear I still need. Unfortunately all the items I want aren’t available – it’s too specialist, the wrong colour, the wrong size. I’ll have to take the bus into Medford when I reach Ashland, so I can visit REI and just pick something that’s actually in the shop.

Before I leave I head into the store to pick up a few things. I still have so much food left I only need a packet of tuna, and I pick up a bottle of insect repellent with 7% deet, the only choice available, and a piece of mesh fabric. It’s not full body armour, but it should help against these vicious bugs.

When I pick up my pack more hikers have arrived. They all appear to be pulled into what people call the vortex, that place where people just can’t seem to leave. I’m on a schedule, so I have no choice but to go, and once I’m off I don’t see any other hikers for a long time.

After Shelter Cove I have a long ascend. Some 6 miles to rise over 2000 feet, and it takes me most of the afternoon to get there. I reach just under 7000 feet, and there’s still a little bit of snow at the top – with swarms of mosquitoes guarding it – it’s a madhouse.

I get views for the first time in what seems like days, rock and snow and languid valleys of evergreens spreading out ahead of me. It’s serene and gentle if it’s not for the army of mosquitoes. I’ve soaked myself with the insect repellent, which does a decent job as long as I keep applying regularly, and I’ve fitted the mesh fabric around my legs like a skirt, with the sleeping bag stuff sack still around my face. I’m a true PCT fashion queen. I must be the Olivia Palermo of thruhiking. Still, rather this than the girl I see that afternoon after leaving Shelter Cove. She’s wearing all of her waterproofs to protect against the mosquitoes. I can’t imagine that to be very comfortable in these temperatures.

When the trail finally goes downhill again, it’s already evening. I’m running out of time. I realise I’ll never make it to my intended campsite today, but I figure I might make it to Summit Lake, a large lake with popular camping. It could be busy as a road leads there nearby. I try and hurry down, fighting time and painful feet, and somehow find the lake deserted but for the insane slaughterhouse of evil insects. The lake itself is stunning – pink and blue hues mirroring into the water. I set up, bitten to death, and hide inside my tent, where the night buzzes with mosquitoes and a multitude of animals visits my tent.

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Rosanne Luciana

A Dutch-born London-based hiker who has swapped an East Asian backpacking experience for the opportunity to truly immerse herself into nature, by quite simple, walking.

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