July 15, 2014
16.52 miles / (1053.21 – 1069.73)
I slept well and woke up before the sun this morning. I took a little time to address the growing blisters on my feet. I re-tape my left foot where I have been experiencing some metatarsal pain for the past week or so. Today I am getting a little concerned about foot pain. Without my feet, I am not walking anywhere!
The moon was bright and hanging out just above the ridge I slept under. I’m fed, packed and moving by 7 am this morning.
Raymond Peak area is Awesome! I really like this chunk of the trail. Very picturesque and very interesting…All I can think of is if I were to make a Western, this would be my set. The other thing I think of is how I have yet to think about work or anything to do with my business…I am on VACATION!
I can’t believe how relaxed I am. I typically bite my nails as a habit of stress…but, I have no interest or desire to do so. Sure, my hands are filthy and that has something to do with it, but I just feel so relaxed and enjoying my days traveling through this mountain landscape. So much to see around every bend. So much time to think about everything…Yet, I find myself thinking about nothing. I am constantly doing math as it pertains to next water stop and how much time it should take me to get there. I’m sure there is a lot of background mental processing going on…but I am not consciously aware of it.
Coming down a ridge on the side of Raymond Peak the view opens up to see a great set of waterfall/cascades on Pleasant Valley Creek in the canyon below. You can hear the water’s roar way up here. Views out to the east and into Nevada are far and distant.
The day is beautiful and skies clear. It appears I am following a thru hiker by about a half a day, but I am a little surprised I have yet to meet another PCT hiker since that first day on Sonora Peak. The solitude and silence is so great, I can just feel my body and mind regenerating.
I pass two groups of hikers on their way up to Raymond Lake and stop a chat with a couple of Forest Service employees that are doing some trail maintenance by cutting out some of the overgrown shrubs adjacent to the trail.
I get down into the Blue Lakes Basin, the day is pretty warm and the air fairly humid after the rains the day before…the mosquitos know it too, I think a baby boom happened today as the storms hatched a new generation of the ‘lil pests. Thankfully, my parents had a small bottle of repellent in the truck that I was able to bring with me.
Around 1 in the afternoon, as I am being eaten alive between Wet Meadows Reservoir and Sunset lakes I notice the skies starting to cloud up. Looks like another race against thunderstorms is in store for this afternoon. I have a climb up the exposed side of The Nipple this afternoon, so I start looking at how this is going to play out.
I have seen on previous posts that people refer to a prominent peak in the area as the Nipple. This peak looks like a nipple, however, the proper name is Jeff Davis Peak. All I can think about is some clever surveyor made his satirical comment by naming a nondescript ridge ‘The Nipple’ and the adjacent peak that actually looks like a nipple he names after the defunct President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.
Just as I approach the paved Blue Lake Road and the start of the climb up The Nipple, the clap of thunder begins and the rain starts pouring down. I quickly set up my rain fly and dive underneath to stay dry and make a hot lunch of cup of noodles. Another 2 hours of progress lost.
At around 4pm I put on my rain coat and continue onward and upward. The thunder had stopped, but the rain continued. Pretty quickly the trail exits the scattered forest and the next five miles is an exposed trail over a rocky landscape. The views for the Nipple were great, looking back towards Raymond Peak, with Tyron and Silver Peaks on the horizon. The storm had moved over Raymond Peak as I watch the flash of lightning and the rumble of distant thunder to the east.
By 7pm I reach the Lost Lakes, a couple of lakes in a barren landscape that appears to be popular with 4×4 car campers. The area is trashed. Pieces of old garbage are scattered. Tire prints of some joy-riding 4 wheeler that had created a few doughnuts on and in the lake shore. I walk over to the last camp, which had a few trees and looked like the best location, only to find the entire ground was covered in burnt crumbs of tempered auto windshield glass. A couple of the small trees had been hacked by some happy axe-man. Just because one can drive into a camp site doesn’t mean they need to destroy and disrespect the landscape. It sure does support the stereotype of some white trash 4 wheeler who drinks his 18 pack of Bud and drives into the forest to camp for a long weekend.
I set up camp, eat some dinner, nurse my sore ailing feet and crash hard tonight.