8/23: (8.4 miles) Today my dad joined me! I got up, packed up, and made sure I was at the Mazama Restaurant when it opened (7am). I had 2 pancakes (Really, Mazama? Who doesn't have chocolate chips?), 3 eggs, and bacon. Around 9:45 my dad and step mom showed up and we drove a detour around the fire closure on the PCT (the PCT is closed from the North connection to the Rim Trail up until Highway 138). We had lunch (burgers and milkshake) on the way and started just after noon. I've hiked through plenty of "wildfire smoke areas" before, but the smoke was so thick here that you could smell it (which I didn't mind- campfire smoke is my favorite smell), but it also burned your throat after breathing it. Fortunately, we camped at a higher elevation where the smoke wasn't an issue. My dad did a great job keeping up with my 3mph pace, but I made sure we started with a low day.
8/24: (16.7 miles) Today was our biggest day. And we really had no choice because we went from one water source (Thielsen Creek) to the next water source (Horse Spring). We carried 3 liters of water each and were still able to keep up the 3mph pace. In the last hour before the campsite my dad got service (he has AT&T and I have Sprint/roaming on Verizon. I have a couple bars almost all over the trail). So he took an hour or so to make some phone calls related to work. We got to the campsite and relaxed before the big hike down to water (~0.5 miles off trail and down ~300 ft in elevation). If it weren't the latest water in 16 miles, I wouldn't have done it. After filling up on water we set up camp and went to bed.
8/25: (15.3 miles) Detour day. We heard a bit the previous day about an alternate trail (the Oregon Skyline Trail) that cuts off ~8 miles of the PCT and dumps you out right at Shelter Cove Resort (whereas if you take the PCT, you have to do a 2 mile road walk or side trail to get to Shelter Cove). The main hiking app I use ("Guthook's Guide") knows nothing about this alternate. Fortunately I have my paper maps (which have a whole separate section for the alternate) and the Halfmile app that has the GPS waypoints (and will tell me if I'm on the trail or not and how far along the trail I am). The trail was tough, but I like to imagine the part of the PCT we skipped was tougher. We made it to the Cresent Lake campground (water spigots!) and basically relaxed there all day. I set up my hammock and both my dad and I read for most of the afternoon. At about dusk- as we were cooking dinner- a guy from another campsite where there was a large group camping came over and offered us chicken fajitas. Of course we said "yes!" Just as it was dark and we were laying in tents going to sleep a couple hikers came by and joined us at our site. They cooked dinner, set up their tent, and shined their headlamps everywhere. Not cool- but we couldn't really complain too much.
8/26: (11.2 miles) Today we made breakfast and left camp before the other hikers got up. We did our miles easily and made it to Shelter Cove Resort by lunchtime! Unfortunately, all Shelter Cove Resort has for food (other than grocery-type food) are hotdogs, pizza (they had one option- spinach and mushroom), and breakfast burritos. So we had hotdogs. Later we had one of the pizzas for dinner (it was alright) and a full bottle of Martenelli's that we split. We spent most of our time at Shelter Cove Resort being frustrated with the speed of the WiFi. It sucked. Then we left for the hiker campsite and set up our tents.
8/27: (ZERO) My dad is getting picked up today by my step-mom and my mom is coming to meet me here. We're hanging out at Odell Lake Resort where she's reserved one of their "hotel rooms". Shower, laundry, good WiFi, here I come!
[If you can identify what the title of this post is taken from WITHOUT GOOGLING, bonus points to you]