Backpacking on the PCT Day Three

We woke up at 6am and were immediately set upon by swarms of mosquitos. Packed up and were almost running out of Salvation Spring camp site. The mosquitos didn’t clear out for another couple miles. Looking at the map, that stretch of trail was at slightly lower elevation between Lost Lake and Bull Run Lake, which was clearly a mosquito breeding ground like no other. Funny thing was, despite the sheer numbers, I received very few bites; only a couple around my face and ankles. Apparently, they were very picky.

After four miles or so, we reached a side trail to Buck’s peak. The PCT skirts the peak, but it marked the start of the Waucoma ridge, a long, very dusty and sun exposed stretch of a couple miles.

Buck Peak

The Waucoma ridge also quickly earned the nickname “The Star Trek V” ridge, because at this point we entered into a long discussion of the relative merits of Star Trek V (almost none) and also had to review the plot for Dan, who apparently only remembers the camping portion at the beginning, Kirk and Spock locked in the brig, and the camping trip at the end. While that would have been a much better movie, I felt compelled to fill in the detail. I also had to explain that Kirk did not tell anyone Spock’s ears got caught in a mechanical rice picker in Star Trek IV (that happened in “The City on the Edge of Forever”, great episode).

And yes, I am clearly a massive nerd.

All too soon, we began descending off the ridge and arrived at Indian Springs camp site. Initial impression wasn’t good — large sunny field with a lot of trash, but it turned out there were several smaller, much nicer campsites. Sites even had a picnic table. We had done ten miles by Indian Springs and it was only lunch time. Jeff and I still had some miles in the tank, but Dan’s knee and feet were causing him a lot of pain, so we decided to stop for the day.

It can be surprising hard to fill hours in a camp site. Took a nap, then spent some time looking at the maps to determine the best route for tomorrow. Jeff’s original plan had been to follow the Indian Springs trail down into Eagle Creek, mine had been to follow the PCT around Wautum Lake. My route was longer, but was a gentler descent while Jeff’s was looked pretty steep. After some discussion, mostly around the relative states of our knees and what a steep descent would do, we chose the easier, Wahtum Lake, route.

Then it was dinner time! Jeff and I cooked up some Chicken Italian while Dan had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Dan also recorded some video for our new show, “Trail Chefs” or “Trail Cooks” or something like that. After, Dan built a fire for his new show, “SurvivorDan”. Not yet on youtube, but I’ll add the clips once I’ve uploaded them.

At the time, that all seemed really cool…oh well.

Jeff and Dan hung the food bags while I gathered more water for the next day. We decided to forgo the tarp again and sacked out cowboy style around the fire. Far better when there aren’t swarms of mosquitos trying to suck your blood…

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