Day 78: The most beautiful blue lakes!

Day 78
July 5
mile 1094.5-1111
16.5 miles

When I woke up UB sent me a text apologizing for falling asleep last night and said they were heading over for breakfast. Every time he texted me, I was getting charged because his settings on his new iphone were such that my phone didn’t recognize his as an iphone! I had asked him to call me instead yesterday, but he just kept texting…
I walked over to breakfast and found him and Sierra Bum in a booth. I leaned over, stretched out my arms, gave UB a big good morning hug and reminded him not to text me again! We all ordered the breakfast special, but I regretted it as soon as I saw the small amount of scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheap white flour pancakes. I should have stuck with my omelet! UB was fascinated with the facebook postings of the daily miles hiked by a girl who was attempted to break the speed record for an unsupported PCT hike this year. There was no part of me that wanted to hike over 40 miles per day! Sierra Bum was researching a new tent that he was interested in, while UB mulled over the possibility of re-starting his hike from the Canadian border and how he could reduce his pack weight even further.
After we finished eating, I headed back to my room to finalize my packing and UB drove over to bring me and Sierra Bum to the post office. I had three boxes of extra food to ship ahead to places along the trail. Sierra Bum discovered that his box was actually shipped to a different post office, so UB drove him up there while I taped up and paid for my boxes. The woman was going to make me buy a roll of tape, but changed her mind after she realized I wouldn’t be able to keep it. It cost me $44 to send the boxes out!
The sun was burning hot outside, so I waited in the lobby for UB to come back. We went back to the motel so I could collect my pack, fill my water bottles, and check out. Then, we headed back to Echo Lake. Luckily, I remembered what direction I had come from because UB started driving the other way! He was very excited to see Muk Muk, who was expected to arrive at Echo Chalet someday today. He wanted to show her around North Lake Tahoe, where he had lived for the winter before starting the trail.
Once we arrived, he set out the most undamaged cupcakes and a cooler of beer for the hikers that were sitting around. I didn’t know any of them! We sat on a log as he stared at his phone, texting with Muk Muk and smiling whenever she responded. She was now about 4 miles away. He went to his car to smoke some marijuana, explaining that he had had a rough life and needed to medicate daily. I had also had a rough life, but felt no need to do this! I was saddened by the feeling of disconnection between us. Every time he got an update from Muk Muk, it seemed like she was farther and farther away. I was growing restless and wanted to get moving! When UB was asked to move his car, and said he would wait for Muk Muk up at the parking lot, I decided it was time for me to head out. She was still at least an hour away.
I had watched some other hikers head out onto the trail and thus vaguely knew which direction to go. It started along the edge of a beautiful blue lake.
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A young kid waiting for his friends sat nearby and I asked if he could take my picture. He happily obliged!
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Then, he informed me that my phone wasn’t allowing him to take anymore photos. It gave a message saying to check the storage options. It was full and I was only at mile 1094! This was terrible!
I headed up a hill, checked for the trail at an intersection, and followed the path that I thought was the PCT. There was a large group of hikers ahead of me that were moving more slowly than I was. I had to ask if I could scoot by. One of them called me a “superhiker”! This part of the trail was so crowded with people that it did not seem as if I was on the PCT! I checked my apps and both told me that I was miles off the PCT! Are you kidding me? I turned around, frustrated, and had to negotiate around the people I had just asked to step aside. This was embarrassing! I walked all the way back to the intersection, looked around all over again, and saw no alternatives! What in the world!? Then, a hiker approached and asked me where Echo Chalet was. I told him it was right around the corner. He asked me what I was hiking and when I said the PCT, he told me that the path I had taken was in fact the PCT! How could my GPS have been so off? It was now 11:45. I had just wasted 45 minutes of precious time and now I had to make my way back through all of those people!
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I made my way around the rim of the lake and as I did so, four thru-hikers caught up to me. One was now wearing a large fanny pack instead of a regular backpack because he had hurt his back and needed to carry less weight. A girl with a feather in her hat had a pack that looked more like a day pack. I couldn’t understand how they could possibly carry so little. Another guy said, “Hi Wendy!” to me as he passed by. I didn’t recognize him and wondered how he knew my name!
I sat down for a snack break as a group of people came from the other direction, looking for the side path to the boat. I told them I only knew where I had come from! It turns out that I was sitting directly across from the tree with the sign on it for the boat! One of the men asked me if I had any food to share. I kind of did, but there were so many of them! He then told me that his son hiked the PCT last year and that he was just like me. He worked seasonally so he could keep wandering.
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After I got going again, the friendly thru-hiker came walking back toward me. He told me that his name was Band Leader and that he had decided that he needed to get off the trail for a few days to visit a friend. I asked him how he knew my name and he said that when I got to Sonora Pass, people were calling out, “Wendy’s here! Wendy’s here!” and my name stuck with him. He thought it was a trail name. I didn’t remember anyone calling my name like that, but I thought it was sweet. He told me that he would see me in a few days.
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The trail climbed away from Echo Lake, but another, perhaps even more beautiful lake, soon appeared.
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I so wanted to get in the water, but felt like I had no time to do so. I already felt behind schedule. My intestines acted up and I needed to quickly attend to them. This problem was incredibly distressing and frustrating! Every day, I hoped my body would be able to overcome the infection, but somehow, that wasn’t happening! I returned to sit by the water and watch the shimmering patterns of sunlight on it while I enjoyed the 5th Avenue bar that Tanya had sent me. I loved this gift because she lives in NYC, and it was a nice reminder of herself and where she was sending it from. It was also the most delicious candy bar ever, and one that I had not tasted for years and years! I really, really appreciated this treat! I saw MudD and Dingo pass by. They weren’t a bit tempted to stop. I finally dragged myself on, and although I found that lake to be the most beautiful, other smaller ones kept appearing! I imagined myself living in this area and coming out to walk this section any time that I wanted. The down side was that it was a very crowded part of the trail.
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The trail climbed to Dick’s Pass and then descended to a lake outlet, where I stopped to collect water for the evening. I had to ford the water and then kept my eye out for a place to camp. The sun set and nothing was appearing. Finally, I went into a patch of woods and found a suitable spot to set up my cowboy camp. I cooked a dinner that Vita had sent me and tucked myself in for the night.


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