PCT: 8/24/17 Snakes and Bears… OH MY!

We ignored the alarm having stayed up way too late. After getting up to make coffee it began to drizzle and fearing that the weather would begin pouring down on us hopped back into the tent. We stayed in there until noon checking every 15 min convinced it would rain, and every time we got out far enough to consider packing up it began drizzling harder and convinced us we were safer to stick it out a while longer. After hours of laughing and procrastinating we finally packed up and hit the trail around 12:30.

The hike was enjoyable and took us through the woods next to amazing waterfalls and streams. We continued and became automatic to step over sticks and roots while chatting in an almost automatic nature. Until I glanced down at the “root” that Nika was stepping over and realized how shiny it was… And then screamed and realized we were now stuck on either side of what was definitely not made of wood but was most definitely some sort of snake. I began stomping trying to encourage the damn thing to move off the trail. I would say the thing inched, but it would be too generous, so we will say this thing centimetered its way and when we saw the dull flat end of it move into the bushes I jumped as high and far over the area and we ran, packs and all, as far as we could singing “Over the river and through the woods”. I later found out that this was a northern rubber boa and may have slightly overreacted.

We finally stopped and had a snack at a junction only to run into two hikers who thought they heard a bear in the trees. After the last “bear sighting” we were much calmer thinking almost nothing of it. After cruising through the woods, talking loudly Nika suddenly stopped, threw out both her hands and crouched while backing up. As I kept asking what was going on she just stood there – frozen. Apparently, her brain thought it was a moose butt 25 feet ahead, and then realized that there are no moose out here… a horse maybe??? And then realized, “OH SHIT, A BEAR!” She finally managed to stutter the word bear and realizing that I had given my whistle to her as she had left hers at home began begging her to use it. We realized pretty quickly that the piece of plastic was junk but continuing to blow with vigor while I raised my trekking poles and began yelling at it to “go away.”

For the next 2 miles, we belted every show tune we could think of not caring how off-key we were and hummed the parts we couldn’t remember the words to while using the worthless whistle to emphasize parts. I should take this time to apologize to anyone that was within earshot of us.

Several hours later we came up to a beautiful meadow that surrounded Deep Lake and saw signs pointing to a toilet that I was very excited to find in the morning. Our neighbors that night included a dog, Ripley, its owner Erica, and her mother. We sat around hearing stories of their many hiking adventures and trails they recommended both in WA and Alaska.

Together both camps worked to hang their food with the PCT method and had one of the most successful hangs yet. The rodents were definitely not getting to it, but I’m pretty sure a bear wouldn’t have had too much of a problem.  It was incredibly cold that night, but we slept well.

8/24/17 START END
7.7 Miles Waptus River Deep Lake
LUNCH Kind Bars with Peanut Butter
DINNER • Southwest Soup
• Beefy Mashed Potatoes (Need to soak beef separately in future)
SNACKS • Ginger Honey Waffles
• Jerky

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