Mile 1884 to Shelter Cove; Shelter Cove to mile 1936; mile 1936 to mile 1965
Shelter Cove was fantastic. We only had 20 miles to go to meet Rocky and TRex at the lovely campground right on Odell Lake, but predictably got a late start and then took a long lunch on the shores of the lovely Crescent Lake. As we were eating, we met a couple who own a vacation home on Odell Lake. They asked us about our journey and mentioned that their daughter's college roommate also hiked the PCT a handful of years ago with her now husband. This couple mentioned that the PCT hikers now live in Bellingham. Brett goes on an annual "man-ping" hike in Northern Washington every year with a big group of guys, and on a whim, thought he'd ask if the hikers these two were talking about could possibly be the same as one of the guys Brett hikes with. Turns out it was the same couple - Jaime and Jamie (or Solid and Stripe, their trail names)! What a very small world - there we were hiking the PCT, on the shores on a small lake in central Oregon, talking to a couple from Seattle but vacationing in the area - and we both have connections to the same former PCT hikers!
From Crescent Lake, we had about 10 miles to get to Shelter Cove, but I just didn't want to hike. We talked to Rocky and TRex, who had already arrived to the campground and were happily sipping beers lakeside in some fabulous adirondacks by the firepit. I was SO CLOSE to asking our new friends for a ride up to Shelter Cove, but decided against it at the last minute. I just couldn't bring myself to asking them for a ride. I've gotten better at being able to accept gifts from strangers, but straight up asking is still too weird! Brett jumped ahead towards the end of our last 10 miles in order to pick up a few essentials before the store closed, and I arrived a little after 6 to see Brett, Rocky and TRex sitting under strung lights on the grass near the giant firepit next to the docks. What a picturesque/perfect/happy moment! After joining them, we looked up to the sky to see bald eagles circling above. As with so many places on this trail - I never wanted to leave.
After leaving the next morning, we hiked up and past Willamette Pass - the location of my ill fated snow camping of a few years back during my stint in Oregon. (For those unfamiliar - Brett and I decided to go snow camping/backpacking but managed to select the coldest weekend of the uncharacteristically cold winter. Needless to say, it was a rough weekend...I was convinced I had frostbite, and even when we got to our car at the warmest part of the day, the ski resort clocked us in at negative 7 degrees.) Seeing this place in the summer was such a different experience! I remembered a snow covered meadow from a few years ago that turned out to be a beautiful alpine lake.
We hiked through a burn area and made camp in the first place we could find that wasn't surrounded by dead trees liable to fall at any time. TRex had enough service to get a call out to ChikChak, who we hadn't seen since Sierra City. She was having a rough day, and I so wanted for her and StarFox to be with us right then. We miss the rest of the Wolf Pack!
The following morning we got an early start and things went well for most of the day. We decided to "stop at the coffee shop" a few miles in - which means we got to the next water/lake, took off our packs, and made our instant coffee while chatting and hoping the weather would hold off...the rain was threatening. We hiked, hiked, hiked all day, and ended our day with a surprise climb that killed me. I made Dr. Slosh entertain me by telling me everything he knows about rap, who his favorite artists are and why (E-40, duh), and all the history he knows about East Coast vs. West Coast. I just couldn't think of anything else to talk about, and for whatever reason I wanted to hear more about Andre Nickatina...among others! Barely made it to camp before it was pitch black out, but I couldn't have been happier to be inching closer to Santiam Pass.