Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 65: Good Outcome, Bad Action

Friday, August 03, 2018 – 14 miles

It rained overnight, but no water infiltrated my tent through the tiny holes in the roof (there seems to be more every day). The morning was cold and misty and I lingered in my sleeping bag until realizing that I could escape the clouds by walking to a lower elevation. Stuffing everything into my backpack, I began the descent to the Sandy River. As per usual, I didn’t end up putting on my rain pants until my normal pants were already half-drenched from wet vegetation.

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Misty views

The Sandy River is flagged as a potentially dangerous ford, but when I arrived in the morning it was tame enough, and not sandy either.

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The Sandy River

A short distance upstream, a cairn marked a crossing place with rocks and boughs to step on. I was about to cross when a couple approached and asked me whether I knew which direction the Timberline Trail goes along the river. I unhelpfully told them where the PCT is and asked whether they had a map. The woman said yes and that she had been about to consult it, so I headed off, thinking that they would have no problems. When I looked back before leaving the riverbed though, they were scouting up and down the bank. Later I saw a map on a board and that section of the Timberline Trail wasn’t marked on it, so perhaps their map was the same. Hopefully they found out where they needed to go.

After leaving the river I took the Ramona Falls alternate, which involved a visit to Ramona Falls and a walk along Ramona Creek. It was nice enough, though I wonder whether Mt. Hood would have been visible from the official PCT if not for the low hanging clouds, in which case I would recommend the official PCT. I also passed a junction to a higher elevation route closed to stock because of rockfalls and landslides. Seemed dodgy, moreover pointless in the misty weather.

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Ramona Falls

Shortly after rejoining the official PCT, I reached the Muddy Creek crossing. The creek was raging beneath the most questionable bridge of all time; my understanding of the bridge was that you were supposed to stand on the lower log and hold onto the rope attached to the upper log, but the two damp logs were overlapping dangerously towards the end of the bridge. I decided to walk on the upper log instead and made it to the other side, but it was a frightening experience on the damp surface. eTrails mentions a bridge (presumably normal) 0.25 miles to the east. In retrospect, given my discomfort with the log bridge, I should have walked the extra 0.5 miles to check whether that was a viable alternative. I try not to judge the wisdom of an action based on its outcome.

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This picture does not do justice to its dodginess.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Lots of day hikers.

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I’m stealth camping about half a mile from the Lost Lake trail junction.

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