I couldn't sleep well last night bc there were tons of deer running around w sticks breaking. :( it always gives me so much anxiety. Also, this somewhat creepy southbounder camped across the trail from me. I kept hearing his footsteps come closer to my tent so I would peek from my tent to see what he was doing. Super weird.
I reached the elk lake junction and saw views for the first time from the smoke. It got me worried. I texted Natalie and debated on what I should do. I was also concerned bc today was supposed to the highest temp of the heat wave and I'm low on food. I mean, I think I have just enough until mckenzie pass but it'd be cutting it close. I decided to hike on into elk lake and see what I should do. It was early so the restaurant wasn't opened but I ended up talking to Dora and this other older hiker and they all planned on hiking out. There was also this other weird guy trying to ask hikers questions....so many weird ppl. Dora ended up telling me she met this creepy soboer the night before but he hiked out after he got a burger. It was the same guy who camped at my site the night before. Ugh.
Anyways, all morning I debated back and forth on whether or not to leave early to sisters to elk lake. The smoke didn't seem to bad in our area. I was mainly concerned about the fire getting worse past santiam. We waited around for the restaurant to finally open and were starved. I couldn't eat from my food bag since I have to ration what I have left to sisters so we dug through the hiker box desperately. I ordered chili cheese fries and ate them so fast. This felt like my first hiker meal. After I ate, I was in food coma. So tired and it was starting to get hot outside. The sun was BLAZING. I had no desire to hike out whatsoever. I found a shaded spot down by elk lake and spread my ground sheet out and took a nap. There were a million ppl there on vacation. The resort was SO busy.
I finally came to a conclusion in the afternoon about what I wanted to do. Even though I found a trail angel who was kind enough to offer a ride into sisters, I decided to hike out in the evening as far as I could. There were so many others already out there. I think I'll be ok I tell myself. If anything I can get service and call Natalie. I'm glad I was able to fully recharge my battery though. I was nervous about running out of juice bc I've been checking fire updates so often. I also decided to try and make it to santiam so that I don't have to come all the way back to make up the miles. I think I can do it and I think I have enough food. I'll prob get to santiam by end of the day on Saturday. Also I am so insanely dirty and smelly. I cannot wait for a real shower and laundry.
At around five, I get my things ready to hike out. I say bye to the German girl I met and am a bit sad to part ways w BG. He got to elk lake but his shoes are broken. We'll prob get on at diff times now. I soaked my bandana in cold water and wore it around my neck for the hike out. It helped. Thankfully it was mostly shaded for the climb up. As soon as I reached the top and wounded back down, the mosquitos came out like CRAZY. They swarmed my entire body and I just couldn't stop moving. Omg I was literally running past mirror lake until I came to a wide clearing of just the trail and an amazing view of south sister and middle sister in the hazy distance. It was so pretty. It was after 8pm and there was no one else on trail with me. It felt amazing. Views like this remind me on why I'm on the PCT. Oregon has been a bit demoralizing with no views and all bugs but tonight was amazing.
I kept walking until the Devils lake junction hoping to find a tent site. I think this trail takes you to the summit of south sis. I want to climb that so badly. Hopefully I can if the smoke dies down. I ended up finding a spot by the trees and noticed some other hikers already there. I let them know I was stopping here and I was so happy to be done for the day. I could finally hide in my tent away from mosquitoes. Running from them all day is so exhausting. I packed out some Mac and cheese but town food keeps you full for so long! It's kinda awesome. I was able to do a little over eight miles w no food while I walked! I think I just fear no shade this section during the heat. I kinda like walking late. It makes me more tired when I get into bed instead of laying wide awake forever. This is how it was last year. Hike early and hike late. Pass out. I'm not quite sure how many miles to go tom but I need to get to the pass by sat.