I was recruited by the Scott/Salmon district here in the Klamath to go out on an 8 day hitch on the PCT. They received a report that there were about 70 logs down on a stretch of the PCT. Luckily they decided to pack us in with mules for this hitch, which never happens in the Happy Camp district. So, naturally I still packed as light as I could just in case I was going to be carrying all my supplies up the trail. I was the only one with this mentality everyone else packed as if they were moving up into the mountains haha. Duffel bags and boxes full of food, multiple changes of clothes; I was definitely the odd one out. I managed to get everything I would be taking up with me for 8 days in an 85 liter pack.
Getting packed in by mules takes about half the day; you’ve got to feed them, brush them, saddle them up. The part that requires some finesse is packing the loads because both sides need to be even otherwise one side will sag and that just wouldn’t be comfortable for the mules. I’m always a little hesitant to give up my things for the mules to carry but that’s only because I feel bad having them carry it. I’m sure it’s a little silly but I can’t help but feel that way which is partly why I prefer to walk with them than ride them. Lucky for me there was Bella for me to hang out with while we were headed up to camp. She was definitely a puppy with so much energy, in the beginning. By the time we made it up to camp she was down and out and crashed immediately. Once we finally got all the mules unpacked it was time to set up camp and say good bye to the mules and Bella unfortunately they wouldn’t be staying.
The next 2 days would be the hardest days we had by far the entire hitch. We had 15-16 mile days back to back on the PCT lugging around our tools on rocky trail. My feet were feeling the miles but the views were amazing. The Marble wilderness never lets me down and every mile was beautiful. Most of the trail followed high on ridges and you could see everything. No picture I ever take there does it any justice. We went for a swim in Man Eaten lake, a beautiful emerald green lake that is surrounded by rocky ridges probably carved out from snow melt right into the deep lake we were enjoying.
After those 2 days to mend our broken bodies from all the miles and long days we thankfully had a low mileage day of just brushing. We probably maxed 3 miles, my body was happy about that to say the least. We ended the day with a cross country hike up the ridge behind our camp to Shelly Lake. This lake wasn’t quite as emerald green like Man Eaten lake but still just as beautiful and when you don’t have a shower lakes are the next best thing.
The next few days we worked on cleaning up the PCT junction where we were located and started working down the Bug Gulch trail. These days only maxed at about 10-12 mile days. The trail follows a creek that I am sad to say we didn’t get an opportunity to swim in. The creek runs through rock and carved some pretty amazing natural water slides. There’s always next time though and who knows I may be back here next summer!
Man Eaten Lake,
And time for a much needed swim.
Dinner swims at Shelly Lake.
That’s not snow on the mountains over there, it’s white marble. The Marble wilderness has white and black marble mountains, it’s incredible.
Really cool flowers that I unfortunately don’t know the name of. They look like something out of a Dr. Suess book and were soft too!
Coolest dog I’ve met on the trails so far, this is Arrow. He had is own pack and sleeping pad packed up on his back. Such a sweet dog.
Mountain sunsets never disappoint.