Mile 2226 – 2247 Lava Spring.
We woke up on the lawn next to the General Store in Trout Lake and walked over to the local cafe for breakfast. We met two inquisitive parents who asked us all about our hike. It turns out they were the parents of Hatchet, a thru-hiker from 2016. Hatchet got injured and had to get off trail at Trout Lake last year. He was coming back to finish up the rest of the trail this year.
After breakfast, Bedazzled headed over to the post office and was able to get her shoes even though it wasn’t officially open for business. Thank goodness.
We tried to get a hitch back to the trail unsuccessfully for a while until two Russian guys stopped. We got in and saw that they had a bunch of mountaineering gear in the back. It turns out they were going to try to summit Mt. Adams. That sounded pretty cool. The driver also said he hiked the PCT last year. Right around this time, I noticed that we weren’t going the same way back to the trail that we had come down. There was a road sign for Mt. Adams, which the PCT goes around, but we hadn’t hiked that far on trail yet. “Umm…I don’t think this is the way we came down. We need to go back on FR 23,” I said. It turns out the Russian dudes had no clue where the PCT was and were just driving the route to the base of Mt. Adams. Of course none of us had signal. The guy stopped the car and asked us what we wanted him to do. At this moment another car came from the opposite way with two guys in it. They were just coming back from climbing Mt. Adams, and they asked if anything was wrong. The Russian guys explained the predicament and the two guys said they could take us. We moved our gear to their car and got in.
It became apparent that these two Polish guys from Chicago didn’t know where they were going either when they gave us a hand drawn map to try to figure out where the PCT was. We tried our best to get to the forest service road, but in the end just asked them to take us back to Trout Lake before we got too lost.
Once back in town, we tried to hitch again with another hiker named Mike. When a car stopped, the first thing we asked was if they were local. If they said yes, then we asked if they knew where FR 23 was. Two guys that stopped said they were local and take hikers up there all the time so we jumped in the back of their truck and finally made it to the trail head!
The trail was excellent as we got underway and even though it went through some burn areas, while we climbed up to the base of Mt. Adams, I didn’t mind because it gave us clearer views as we circled the mountain. I will admit that I didn’t like Mt. Adams when I first saw it. It had a rounded non-jagged top and seemed a little less dramatic than some of the other great volcanos in the area. As I rounded it and saw its different sides, however, it grew on me. I especially like the glaciers on its west face, which seemed to burst forth from its core.
In addition to Mt. Adams, we also got views of Mt. Rainier.
Since we began hiking, Bedazzled had gone missing. I looked for her behind me, but never saw her. Even though we got a late start at 11:30, she had mentioned that she wanted to stop for lunch even if it was for 15 minutes. I was feeling good and didn’t feel hungry or like stopping, especially since I had no clue how far back she was. The last few days she had been up to 40 minutes behind so even if I stopped for a quick lunch, she wouldn’t catch up.
On the ride up, however, we had decided to hike 20-21 miles, which would put us at Lava Springs. With this in mind, I carried on without taking any breaks.
Well, it turns out Bedazzled was about 35 minutes behind me and arrived at Lava Springs after I was already setup and eating dinner. She got into camp, she threw her backpack down, and took each item out one by one, and set it forcefully on the ground. She then gave me the death stare. “I was asking everyone I passed if they had seen you. I even left you a note,” she said. “How would I see the note? I was ahead of you,” I replied. “I don’t know. I thought you might be behind me,” she retorted, “I waited for you.” “Why would you think I was behind you?” I asked. No reply.We went about our own business for a while ignoring each other. I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong, and we had agreed on our mileage and camping spot for the day, but I decided the easiest way to smooth things over was to apologize so I did. “You know I don’t just want to hike separately all the time. I want to hike with you and enjoy the views together,” replied Bedazzled. “So that was the issue,” I thought.
In the end, I agreed to wait for Bedazzled more and she agreed to pick up her pace, which has dropped considerable over the past days and weeks. We’ll see how things go.