Mile reached: 1906.6 (+32.4 + 1.2 bonus)
High: Discovering that “Gandalf” and the others made it to Shelter Cove.
Low: I opted to not top up on water at Summit Lake, so I ran out well before reaching the next water source.
With the belief that the mosquitoes were less active in the cold of the morning I woke up early and got going. Fortunately, this hypothesis seemed to be reasonable. Though, I was worried about how horrendous the mosquitoes might be later in the day near a series of lakes. Regardless, the morning was pleasant, and I quickly arrived at a forest service road accompanied by a water cache. There I encountered a section hiker with his dog, who obviously has been consuming plenty of shrooms. He was nice, but continued to distract me with his friendliness from effectively combating the mosquitoes.
I topped up on water and began a big climb up a ridge. There was an unofficial alternate that cut both miles and elevation off the trail, but I opted to take the official trail instead. Consequently, I was rewarded with impressive views of Diamond Peak and the Sisters from the ridge along with a handful of lakes in foreground.
Disconcertingly, the trail descended to one of these lakes, and previous hikers had commented on how horrendous the mosquitoes were. I definitely encountered swarms of them, but they were short lived and manageable. I was even able to find a mosquito free area on the shore of Summit Lake and enjoy my lunch.
The afternoon saw another climb, though this time there were numerous stagnant ponds. Much to my surprise the mosquitoes were basically nonexistent. The trail was also quite beautiful again as it traversed below the ridge of Diamond Peak. The descent down though had plenty of mosquitoes, but it was easy to move fast and avoid them.
I ended the day at Shelter Cove, which is a resort on a lake. Magically, there were no mosquitoes, and I also found “Gandalf” and the others, who had taken the alternate and beat me there. Previously, they had told me that they wouldn’t arrive until the next day. Instead we spent an evening on the patio drinking beer and telling stories. “Extra Miles”, whom I had met a few days prior, also joined us. Despite frequent protests about camping for free in the woods, everyone decided to pay for camping at the resort.