Day 121-124: Fire and Rain
Day 121: Near Tipsoo Creek (Mile 1869.5)-Near Timpanogas Lake (Fire detour, off trail); 28 miles
Since it was North Star’s 28th birthday, we decided to walk 28 miles. We began the day on the PCT, but a couple miles in, the trail was closed due to a forest fire. We were prepared and already had the map of the reroute, which initially led us through a forested area.
As the detour continued, it turned off a trail and onto a gravel road.
Unfortunately, the detour became confusing. At one road junction, the road was signed as 770, but labeled 780 on the map. At another, the map omitted a road that clearly existed. Worst of all, the map showed us turning off the road onto a trail that did not exist! Instead we figured out a new road path, which would eventually reach the PCT. We walked late into the evening. We wrote up full Butte Fire detour instructions and they are posted on pctnews.com.
Finally it became dark, and we were tired. We had completed the 28 miles we had planned, though we were not quite back to the PCT yet. The errors on the map were frustrating, but we persevered and stayed on track.
Despite the difficulties, everyone’s birthday wishes kept our spirits high throughout the day. North Star got a handwritten birthday card and some corn nuts from our nine year old thru hiker friend, Monkey. She also received many comments on the blog, on Facebook, via email, and through text message. Thank you for the birthday wishes, and for the PCTA and Nature Conservancy donations!
Day 122: Near Timpanogas Lake (Fire detour, off trail) – Shelter Cove (Mile 1912); 16.5 miles
We walked the last of the detour in light rain. Hoping to help hikers behind us navigate the confusing route, we continued to leave arrows pointing the way.
At last, we rejoined the Pacific Crest Trail at the beautiful Summit Lake. We rested there, and the sound of the rain on the lake calmed us. After the stresses of navigating the detour, this was the perfect reward.
From the lake, we climbed up above treeline. The sun emerged, and we ran into snow patches beneath sharp peaks.
Descending towards Odell Lake, we soon reached Shelter Cove Resort, where we picked up a food resupply box. As we did so, rain began to fall. The rain was short-lived, and after it stopped, we set up camp.
Day 123: Shelter Cove (Mile 1912)-Near Waldo Lake (Fire detour, off trail); 14 miles
Leaving Shelter Cove, we began another fire detour. Two fire detours almost back to back seemed excessive, but we took it in stride. This detour was predominantly along a paved road with a good amount of traffic.
After a few miles of stepping off into the brush as trucks and RVs whizzed by, we consulted the map and found a trail which almost paralleled the road, only adding a few extra miles. The trail proved much quieter. We found ourselves relaxing as we passed a number of lovely lakes.
We camped near the trail, in perfect solitude and quiet.
Day 124: Near Waldo Lake (Fire detour, off trail)-Desane Lake (Mile 1948); 22 miles
We began the day walking through the woods, continuing our fire detour from the PCT. The area was quiet and still, except for woodpeckers and spiders.
In a few miles, the detour ended and we were welcomed back to the PCT by a beautiful lake.
Soon we entered a burned area, which seemed appropriate because the section of PCT we had just detoured around could look like this in a few years. It was striking in its own way.
Leaving the burned area, we found ourselves in a lake-studded forest without mosquitos. It seemed too good to be true. With all these perfect lakes around, we wanted to camp at one. We chose Desane Lake, where we witnessed a fiery sunset.