PCT Day 88: Payne Lake

Miles Hiked: 30.9

PCT Mileage: 1599.7

This morning I woke up feeling well rested for the first time since before climbing Mount Shasta. Getting to camp by 8:30 last night really helped me get a full night of recovery. One thing I have been doing before I go to bed to help with recovery is drinking a protein shake. I think it makes a huge difference in how I feel the next day. Anyways, I was hiking by 5am this morning. The first time I’ve been on trail early in a long time. Trail Diva woke me up and we headed out together. I hiked the first ten miles alone to a nicely flowing water source. The trail went mostly downhill through a burn area but this looked like maybe it burned several years ago. It was a really easy ten miles. I listened to music and I was happy.

At the water source, I made a butterscotch pudding and drenched all my clothes to make them cool because it was already getting hot. Trail Diva caught up to me here but I hiked on. From the water source it was mostly uphill and exposed on the side of a mountain. It just kept getting hotter and I was glad I had music to distract me. I stopped and chatted to a SOBO for a few minutes. The SOBOS had a rough start this year. There is still a significant amount of snow in Washington so anyone who started early ended up skipping Washington or doing a flip flop hike. Complicated logistics from day one. I was thankful we are hiking North and hope the snow melts off by the time I get there! They had a higher than average snow year in Washington this year.

I was excited to get to town but I didn’t want to rush it because my feet were hurting so bad. I still took all the breaks I needed to. At Payne Lake I walked straight into the lake to cool off. I didn’t bother to take off my socks, shoes or any items of clothing. I figured it was so hot it would dry within an hour or two. I also don’t like touching things on the bottom of a lake with my feet. It cooled me off but the lake water wasn’t that cold. Diva and I walked the last six miles to town together. We were both struggling today with the heat. This has been a tough section. Midnight is slack packing 40 miles today. She went into town yesterday because she didn’t feel well. I’m not surprised because I was feeling so tired too. I think Shasta kicked everyone’s butt. Midnight surprised us with a hotel room tonight so we were really looking forward to town.

Once we got to the road, we got a hitch within 10 minutes despite the odds not looking good. A hiker couple on vacation for a week drove us down the long windy road into Etna in their pick up truck with our packs in the back. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to ride in the back of the truck.

Etna was even hotter than the trail because it was lower in elevation. We went to the only food place open. Paystreak. I got a Ruben sandwich and a Porter beer. I’m not a big meat eater or dark beer drinker but they both sounded good. I listened to a band play at open mic and just stared into nothingness because I was so tired I could barely function. Midnight made it into town just after us. Record timing for doing 40 miles today. She ran some of it. I was so impressed she did all that while she wasn’t feeling good. We met up with her at the hotel which was amazing. We had a giant room in a historic looking house. I did most of my chores including washing my cold soak jar, sorting through my food and garbage, and cleaning my water filter in the massive kitchen downstairs. I got a roll out bed to myself. After a shower I fell asleep really early. I was so tired and my feet were swollen.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

Published by Deserrae Potts

Thru Hiker Blogger

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