Day 117 – July 29, 2022
Mile 2229.9 (FS 23/Trout Lake, WA) to 2254.7
24.8 trail miles | 24.3 tracked miles | 3,782 ft elevation gain | 87.8 F / 31 °C
After a restful night at the Trout Lake Valley Inn, I enjoyed a simple but hearty breakfast, then caught the first shuttle back to the trailhead. Trout Lake ranks as one of my favorite trail towns; I’ve enjoyed the locals’ genuine hospitality, the excellent resupply, and the relaxing scenery. I’m also glad I had the chance to visit a locale in my home state that I probably would never have seen otherwise.
At 8:30am, I was back on the Pacific Crest Trail, stoked for the adventures ahead.
North of Trout Lake, I traversed an old, seven-mile burn zone—a sad, seemingly daily ritual. The lack of shade was painful, but the views kept me going: in the distance, hiding behind charred trees, loomed the auspicious silhouette of Mt. Adams. The trail headed east, bringing me ever closer to the mountain.
Seven miles in, the PCT veered North and joined the aptly-named “Round the Mountain” trail. The next segment hugged Mt. Adams and was truly spectacular.
It was hot—although not as much as I feared, and elevation helped—and the bugs were out in full force. But the views were mesmerizing. At times, I could see up to three mountains at once: Mt. Adams (just east of the trail), Mt. St. Helens (further west) and Mt. Rainier (north). I also enjoyed a brief sight of Mt. Hood, a final farewell to Oregon.
It occurred to me that, despite having lived 20 years in the Washington State, I had never visited Mt. St. Helens. This will definitely be on my post-thru-hike to-do list.
The scenery eventually changed from forest to meadows. I took breaks—and way too many photos—near idyllic, pristine mountain streams, with Mt. Adams in the background.
My hike may be over soon, but days like this one will be forever etched in my memory. Despite the heat and the bugs, this stretch was pure bliss, with a smooth trail and moderate elevation gain.
To cap this glorious day, I traversed a short lava field.
I setup camp in a little nook in the woods by a meadow, and freshen up at Midway Creek, a glacial mountain stream. It’s currently so warm in the evenings that I have resorted to wearing nothing overnight, and I’m almost questioning my decision to hold on to my quilt. The heat wave is supposed to recede within 48 hours, though.
Tomorrow, I will reach Goat Rocks, one of the Pacific Crest Trail’s most scenic stretches. I am hoping to go through both Cispus Pass and Knife’s Edge, which might be ambitious should the odd combination of snow and the heat slow me down. I could not be more excited for the prospect of hiking through this spectacular section for the second time in my life.