Mile reached: 1874.2 (+35.0 + 2.6 bonus)
High: I climbed Mount Thielsen including the summit block!
Low: “Gandalf’ and crew wanted to arrive at Shelter Cove over day after me.
Answer: To crush mosquitoes, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.
It was another extremely cold morning, and I had little in the way of warm clothes. So, I put on my wind layer and just sucked it up for the few hours until the sun was high enough. The forest was also filled with smoke from a nearby fire, which happened to hide the sun. However, after nine miles I reached the highway and more importantly a water cache! This water cache had just been restocked minutes before I arrived and broke a 30 mile dry stretch.
I arrived first and met “Butters”, who had been sitting there for a while. Shortly thereafter, “Gandalf” arrived, which was very confusing. He had left camp at least 10 minutes before me, but neither he nor I saw me pass him. A little bit later “Holmes” and “Dunks” arrived. We all talked for a while, and had breakfast. Since my plan was to take a detour and climb Mount Thielsen, I continued on while they waited for others to catch up.
The PCT climbed up around Thielsen’s west side and crossed a use trail that ascends 1800 feet up to the summit. I dropped my gear hiding it in some trees, and began my climb with a much lightened pack. Tragically, I went to pull out my phone to take a photo but couldn’t find it! So, I walked back the tenth of a mile or so to where I stashed my gear, but couldn’t find it there either. It turned out that it was in my pack all along! Gah. However, the climb up was spectacular even though some sections were loose. The summit block was a great but sightly exposed scramble that provided an exhilarating end the the ascent. There, I spent a few minutes enjoying the summit before heading back down to the trail.
The afternoon was pleasant but quiet. Everyone else had passed me, so there was no company except for the mosquitoes. Though, with vigilance I was able to keep them at bay and delight in the satisfying squishes signifying their deaths.
Late in the evening I came up to a junction for a water source 0.6 mi off trail downhill. “Gandalf”, “Dunks”, and “Holmes” were hanging out in a log waiting for “Skipper” and “Watson” to fetch water. Apparently, they had drawn straws, and the latter two had lost. I hung out with them for a bit but decided to push on for two more miles to get to the top of a hill. Thankfully, I was able to get my tent set up before enough mosquitoes appeared to make things annoying.