Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day 121 - Waptus & Deep Lake

Friday August 14

The rain and thunderstorms that I expected last night didn't happen. It was partly cloudy when I crawled out of the tent at 5:25. I was a happy camper!

I knew today was going to be physically challenging because the trail climbed back up to the top of the next ridge, slightly less than 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The good part about it was that the trail was in much better shape. I just need to concentrate on keeping up a good walking rhythm. 

As I got higher, I noticed thunder clouds starting to build over on the next ridge, and clouds beginning to enter the valley. More about that in a moment.

The mountains in this area are all really rugged. That's why there are so many steep climbs!  Once over the top of the ridge, I saw Waptus Lake.

Over forty years ago, my wife and I hiked into the lake and camped. We were trying to start our family and it is possible that our oldest son was conceived here!

As I dropped down to the Waptus River, I remember hiking up the Pacific Crest Trail to Deep Lake so long ago. I had woken up early, way before breakfast time, so I saw a trail sign, "Deep Lake, 5 miles". Being young and energetic, I figured I could quickly hike up to the lake, check it out, and return for breakfast. I didn't take any food or water. Even though I was a fast hiker, it took a long time to reach the lake. On the way back, I suffered from low blood sugar. I'll never forget how much I craved for something sugary. 

On the hike today, I saw the same trail signs. It seemed to take forever to get to the lake, and as I hiked I thought to myself, "What if you met that young man from long ago hurrying back down the trail? What would you say to him?" I puzzled with that question for some time. I finally decided that I would say, "Hey, next time you see your parents, tell them that you met an old guy who just wanted to send his love one last time!" Both of my parents passed away some time ago. What would you say if somehow you met your younger self?

When I am hiking for long periods of time, sometimes I get lost in thought. Perhaps that is part of the hiking adventure as well. 

The clouds grew thicker as the day wore on, so I decided to make camp early. I found a campsite just beyond Deep Lake. As I was cooking my chicken and rice, it began to sprinkle. I quickly ate dinner and retreated to my tent. The ground here has lots of pine needles, so if there are thunder showers, I'm hoping it will soak into the ground rather than puddle. It is also much cooler, so I am already wearing my down jacket and am bundled up in my sleeping bag. The rain is coming as showers, so I expect to hear the "potter-patter" of rain drops all night. Hopefully I won't hear any falling trees!

I am camped just beyond Deep Lake at PCT mile 2445.7.  I hiked 21.7 miles today. The elevation here is 4,308 feet. 

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