PCT Day 111: Alpine Lakes Wilderness

August 10

Mile 2390.6-2412.1 (21.5)

I was up late listening to pop music blasting from a car stereo. I woke early anyway. I’d really hoped the weather would lift, but if anything the fog hung heavier. When the diner opened I sat by the window with my coffee and stared out into the fray sky. Today’s hike was supposed to be spectacular. I really wanted to see it. If the weather continued to be bad, though, I thought about taking the Goldmyer alternate.

I ate breakfast and watched the weather. It was subtle, but there seemed to be a slight change. I was going to stick to the PCT and hope for good views.


I couldn’t see anything on the climb out of town, but the rich green forest was so lovely. Toward the top the forest dropped away and rocks and scree stood in their stead. I crossed the catwalk and stood for a while, watching fog blow across the sky, imagining what existed underneath. I’ll have to come back another day.



I saw some pretty lakes from the ridge, then nothing. Big empty space where views once were. It was steep and rocky and I felt slow, clumsy. My stomach ached from trail food. Coffee wore off.

Then I crested the ridge and hiked below the fog, watched it spill down the mountain behind me. Sun! Distant mountains! I had out hiked the clouds, just barely. They flooded the valley behind me. But I was warm and dry and felt much better. I started a long descent that I took my time on, just to pick huckleberries. My fingers are stained purple again.


I hiked until late, past sunset and toward dark. I was aiming for a campsite by a big creek, and when I got there another tent was set up. A young couple were camping with their dog and their baby girl. As I set up camp for the night, I could hear soft lullabies coming from their tent. A half moon hung in the sky overhead.

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3 thoughts on “PCT Day 111: Alpine Lakes Wilderness

  1. There are some spectacular views up there and I hope that you will be able to see them. The weather map shows hot and clear so you have a good chance. Having lived in Seattle for 20 years the views are just as elusive for residents. But there are days where you know this is one of the most spectacular places in the Americas. Good luck.

  2. Great to see the trip going so well. I just found out about a trail called the: PNT trail, 1200 miles from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Northwest Trail Association. They have a web site. A good site with pictures is called: Sobo-Hobo. Hope life goes well in the Pacific Northwest, one of the best areas in the world for hiking and scenery and the back to the land spirit.

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