Another 1 day hike on PCT from one of my most frequent TH, Trapper Creek. There was a small window to do 2 day / 1 night to capture longer PCT, but current backpack situation did not work … So, hit the trail around 7:00 with a little smoke, but clearing teasing
Aside, on way to TH stopped at Oakridge to buy gas -part of my intent to spend money in all the small towns around the hiking areas – I talked to the person serving the gas … fires are bad, not as bad as last year, and they have not yet gotten containment on the fires … editorial: i feel sorry for these towns and people as the fires are keeping people out of the woods, and less spending in these towns that really need those funds … sigh.
Getting back to the trail first thing one must cross railroad tracks … this hit me at the end, too.
As the sun rose, more red and heavy, heavy air
This was the 4th year that I have covered this ground, and I have never seen it this dry … where there were ponds, grass or mud. From Trapper to my turn-around point, there was only 1 water that I would drink if not emergency. All the red ground vegetation are leaves, not flowers (but nearly as vibrant!).
Some neighbors were not too concerned with the lower water and were putting on a show
Around this point is another very small ‘shrine’ for mile 1900. I passed both 1900 and 2000 this year (more on that later).
Hiking around Diamond Peak to the south east side, the smoke increased and air quality plummeted. Views of the rocks above were hazy at best. Here the decision to forgo the climbers trail was easy – why walk thru that sand and scree for more smoke? – no – turned around and took the PCT all the way to the turnoff to Trapper Creek TH.
Summary: the PCT section from Yoran Lake trail junction south is tremendous for 5-7 miles, until you head down to Summit Lake. It’s an odd section with a very different landscape for an east-facing side of the cascades from my experience. Unfortunately, the stretch from the TH to that point can be long so one really needs to set the right expectations! The area around Yoran Lake for camping, fishing and hanging out is ideal in Aug / Sept after the ‘squito swarm has gone.
I came back down PCT rather than Yoran Lake and hit the junction where one needs to turn towards the TH; was rudely startled by loud metal noises … the train tracks and a large freight train passing over the crest. While people often claim this a boring, dry and ‘go fast’ section of PCT, Diamond Peak is gorgeous and is worth seeing and soaking in.
There were several odd bird sightings, but more research is needed before claiming an ID. Nearly 22 miles and 5 other hikers – all on PCT SOBO.
Gear News: nothing new – shoes were great, Gregory 30L pack was part of my back …