Day 5 (2016/08/24)
Start: Agnew Meadows, 8,325 feet
Distance: 7.8 miles
End: 1,000 Island Lake, 9,875 feet
We woke up “late” at 6:30, in all our exhaustion the previous night, we managed to set a time for the alarm but we didn’t turn it on. Not the end of the world though, since we had a relatively short day and I think we both needed the extra time in bed. Note: I don’t say sleep, because nobody can sleep well when they’re in the scene of a horror movie. At least we saved $20!
Greg made breakfast on icy picnic tables while I set the tent out to dry, with very little success. We were standing around eating when we heard this loud howl. I comment: wow, someone’s unhappy. Greg just looks at me and shakes his head. A second later we hear all these answering howls. And my eyes just go wide. Yay! Coyotes! Time to pack up and leave!
We made sure to take the road in the right direction and got back on the trail. We saw quite a few people getting ready to set out! Where were they last night?! The climbing, as foretold by the map, began right away on switchbacks. We were sort of walking through the trees, but with the gradual but steady incline and the sun peeking though, we were hot and it wasn’t even 10am yet.
We finally came out on some great views, as we did a long traversing but slightly upward “cliff walk” (I need a name for this, but it was steep on either side of us). Whenever there was a tree for shade, we stopped for a little break (aspirin was not working – but I don’t really see how it can when you’re putting the exact same pressure on your body that caused it). The sun was beating down hard, but I can’t complain about a bluebird day! We were sort of walking along a mountain range and it was cool to see our progress as we went along, like oh! that pointy peak that was ahead of us is now next to us, and oh! is that Shadow Lake where were supposed to camp?
We reached the first junction, marking 5.2 miles from Agnew, after what felt like forever but was really not thaat long just hot and tiring. We rewarded ourselves with lunch! We had been eating trail mix the whole way but I get these little goals in my head and I did not want to eat lunch before we reached this junction. We chatted with a German-speaking family that we had been leapfrogging with for a little while. They were touring in the area, driving to different trailheads, and doing a few nights hiking and camping, and had left from Agnew Meadows that morning.
After lunch, I checked the time and knew that we could be at our campsite before 3 and that kept me going despite feet aches. There were plenty of junctions that helped us keep track of our progress (0.7 miles, 0.3 miles, 0.5 miles, 0.4 miles) although we got confused by the three Clark Lakes junctions in a row. We weren’t sure if maybe we had messed up the segments a little but then we came out to beautiful views and we knew were in the last 1/2 mile.
When the lake finally came into sight we were in awe! A ranger met us at the campsite/PCT trail junction and checked our permit and went over the usual rules with us. She said it was a high impact area and I can see why, it was a pretty easy hike 7ish mile hike from Agnew Meadows and SO. WORTH. IT. We rushed off to find a spot to set up our tent, there were already quite a few people around, but we found our own little spot up higher than everyone else with stunning views all around. It was quite windy and the ground was to rocky/hard to stake down the tent but we didn’t even care. We tied our tent with rope to rocks and I piled some rocks on the other corners. We “patiently” did the chores and then raced down to the water!
The view from our tent site!!
Greg accidentally went for a swim, while I settled for just going in up to my shorts line. It was so lovely to dip our feet and rinse our faces in the afternoon sun. Some people (including the German-speakers) went for real swims but I knew I would freeze if I was dripping wet in this wind. We headed back up to our tent and Greg managed to cook a deliciousssssss fettuccine despite the gusting wind.
We washed the dishes and then got to bed early, to the sounds of other people frolicking. We both got sunburned pretty badly. I GOT A TREKKING POLE BURN. But I felt really bad for Greg whose back was already bright red from having taken his shirt off at the lake.
One foot in front of the other.