From Packwood at mile 2303 to Busch Lake at mile 2309
|Breakfast of thru-hikers|
Our thumbs were out. Portrait and I were standing in the meger shade at the edge of town. We stood facing Packwood: the pizza joint, outfitters, grocery, and out of sight was the Hotel Packwood. A handful of cars, most with only one person inside, and a number of pickups had passed us by.
A gold SUV passed us, pulled onto the shoulder far enough pass us that at first we weren't sure if the car had stopped for us. The white backup lights came on as the car came back for us. A man got out saying loudly "aren't you supposed to be on the PCT?" He was followed by two boys that I remebered from a break next to a waterfall a few days ago. They were the same day hikers that we had talked with a few days ago. We loaded our packs and ourselves into the car. As I climbed in I was thankful that thru-hikers never change clothing so we looked just as we had three days ago.
Our driver asked us question after question about our hike so far. He seemed very enthusiastic about the trail and I couldn't help but wonder if he'd be planning a thru-hike some day. The two boys added their questions as well. I think there was none stop trail talk for the twenty mile ride.
In the trailhead parking lot the younger boy took a picture of me and Portrait. Then Portrait took a picture of the three of them and in front of their car. We said good-bye and thank you and then crossed the road and walked into the woods.
|Our trail head|
The trail followed the road, the tractor trails rumbled pass-they sounded just as loud as they had when we walked the road to the store. We found a quieter place near a dirt road and horse camp to sit so I could call home. Down in the valley where Packwood was there was no cell service. I talked for a while and then it was time to hike.
|One of the many lakes and ponds|
The trail went up, of course. It almost always goes up after a town. My pack didn't seem too bad, maybe lighter than usual. Portrait wasn't feeling well and had to stop, but I hiked on knowing he would catch up soon.
The trail past more than a dozen lakes. Some of them were very pretty in the late afternoon sunlight, but a lot of them were gross with brown water and slime. The mosquitoes seemed to like all the lakes.
|One bridge in bad shape|
The uphill ended up lasting five and a half miles. We hiked six miles to a campsite near one of the many lakes. It was still light out when we arrived. And it was still mostly light out until I finished my leftover pizza dinner. It was dark when we slipped into our sleeping bags, but not yet nine o'clock. As dark falls earlier everynight bed time comes earlier, too.