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Day 115 – July 27, 2022

Mile 2200.6 (Sheep Lake) to 2224.8 (Trout Lake Creek)

24.2 trail miles | 23.4 tracked miles | 2,617 ft elevation gain | 80.6 F / 27 °C

Washington is holding its cards close to its chest. Today’s 24-mile stretch still didn’t feature any major highlights, and I once again spent the day in a “green tunnel.” I don’t mind—I am just days away from the state’s most stunning scenery!

The bug situation today was the worst I’ve ever experienced on the entire trail so far. I spent the morning hiking through a cloud of mosquitoes. They were relentless. I couldn’t stop and take a break without being assaulted and quite possibly eaten alive. It was pretty surreal.

I hiked as fast as I could with my head net on, carrying the fantasy that the mosquitoes would somehow fade away at an invisible line magically located further north.

While the green tunnel may have contributed to the proliferation of bugs, it was ultimately a blessing: I enjoyed shade and mild temperatures despite the ongoing brutal heatwave. Views were scarce, except for the occasional vista of Mt. Hood in the distance.

Mt. Hood

I passed near several lakes, though they were were really ponds and mosquito breeding grounds—a far cry from the pristine alpine lakes that I will enjoy in a week or so.

Blue Lake

Like every day, I also traversed burn zones—a sad reminder that even the famously wet and misty Washington state is not immune to wildfires.

Burn zone near Blue Lake

In the afternoon, a small gap in the thick tree cover revealed a tantalizing glimpse of Mt. Adams. It was so close that I felt I could touch it.

Mt. Adams

Propelled by my hatred for mosquitoes, the lack of notable highlights, and relatively easy and gentle terrain (with a total gain of just about 3,000 feet), I arrived at my intended campsite ridiculously early, at 4 pm. It didn’t make sense to hike any further—I am just 5 miles from the road to Trout Lake, WA, where I will be staying overnight tomorrow.

Besides, my campsite is luxurious. It boasts two streams and a set of logs convivially arranged around a fire ring. And somehow, there are almost no mosquitoes.

A few section hikers had already set up camp when I arrived at 4 pm. We had dinner together; it was an odd crowd. One of them was a sociologist who’s writing a book about hiking culture. She only had negative things to say about thru-hikers and didn’t show the slightest interest in any differing views or opinions. I think I pushed all her buttons. Her husband casually asked if everybody is a Type A personality like me at my workplace; I responded with an eye roll.

Backcountry camping at Trout Lake Creek

I indulged in two baths, before and after dinner, and I feel clean and refreshed ahead of tomorrow’s easy nero to Trout Lake!

The Big Picture

3D path
3D video

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