Tag Archives: Hobart Bluff

Pacific Crest Trail Oregon – Day 5 to Hyatt Lake

Day Five
Today’s Miles: 11.6
Total Miles: 52.4
Camp 7 (near Hobart Bluff Trailhead) to Hyatt Lake

I slept in until 6:30 a.m., and started my morning with yoga stretches and meditation. I focused on affirmations of safety, wellness, and “I’ve got this!” I wanted to face my fear. I was determined to be brave. Today was the final day of backpacking with Carl during this first leg. He wouldn’t join me again until the final few days at the top of the state.

A visual of what Carl and I did the first 5 days – Donomore Pass to Hyatt Lake

We topped off our water, and hit the trail by 8:30 a.m. I was excited to finally be hiking north instead of east. Big animal tracks greeted us first thing. Carl wanted to see a large mammal, apparently not satisfied with his rattlesnake experience yesterday. I didn’t have a strong desire to see any large mammals, and I made a mental note to add that to my morning affirmations.

Cougar?
Bear scratches?

We made it to the Hobart Bluff trailhead in no time. One of the best outhouses on the trail lives here. In fact, you can hike the first 50.6 miles of the Oregon PCT (Northbound) with facilities every night if you plan accordingly. This section is particularly nice for anyone new to backpacking, and wanting to be “eased” into the scene. There is nothing special about the camp at Hobart Bluff Trailhead, our spot last night was far better. I’ll take a beautiful location over an outhouse any day.

Three miles up the trail, the PCT passes through the Green Springs Wildlife Sanctuary for one mile.

We hiked grassy savannas with views into the valley, and open hillsides.

It was a hard day. I was sore, and my body ached more than the previous days. We took many breaks, several involved taking shoes and socks off to allow our feet to breathe.

Toward the end of our day, we heard the sound of water and got so excited! This meant we were almost to our destination for the night. On the shore of the outlet of Little Hyatt Reservoir we took a proper break, soaking our feet in the water, eating the last of our food – which included a treat of a freeze dried ice-cream bar (that wasn’t very good), and chatted about our five amazing days together.

The kids met us at Hyatt Lake campground where we found a spot to stay for the night. I was tempted by the cabins with hot tubs rented out at Camper’s Cove Resort, but we decided $12.00 for a spot at the campground was a good deal, and more in our budget. We had to reserve online because of the pandemic, and none of us had great phone service. After a frustrating 30 minutes, and an $8.00 fee to reserve online, we had our spot for the night.

At 5:50 p.m. we headed to the Camper’s Cove Resort for dinner to discover they close at 6 p.m. Oh no! I planned on us eating at a restaurant for this night in my resupply bag planning, so I panicked for a minute. It certainly felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere, and we were mega minimal camping tonight. Why would a restaurant serving dinner close at 6 p.m.?

Thankfully the woman inside, (ironically named Sunshine because she was not all that friendly) told us about another restaurant just 10 minutes down the road, open till 8 p.m. – woohoo!

Cocorico was FANTASTIC – highly recommended!

We were immediately so happy the other place closed, because we knew this would be superior in every way. The menu was ideal, the owner of the restaurant was beyond friendly, the outside seating was great, and they even had a play structure our little one could play on while we waited for our food. Slam dunk perfect, and the food was AMAZING. This was a highlight of my entire Oregon adventure. (Well, I REALLY like food.)

When we got back to camp I had a mini breakdown; I couldn’t find my phone anywhere. Carl even drove around to retrace our steps. All I could think was, “Now I can’t hike the PCT!” My daughter, Hadlie, was probably hoping with fingers crossed, “Now I don’t have to hike part of the PCT.” (The plan was for her to join me the next three days.) Crisis averted when I finally found it in the car.

I got the four-year-old to sleep around 10 p.m., and happily fell asleep myself after listening to my daughter freak out about all the bugs she could see (on the outside) of her tent. Oy, I’m backpacking with her tomorrow? 🙂

PCT Oregon – Day 4: Passing Pilot Rock to Hobart Bluff

Day Four
Today’s Miles: 11.5
Total Miles: 40.8
Callahan’s Mountain Lodge to Camp 7 (near Hobart Bluff Trailhead)

Sleep did not go so well last night. I tossed and turned in my big comfortable bed with pillows. You just never know with sleep…My daughter had an 8 a.m. Zoom meeting for work, and I was up on my computer as well. I checked the PCT Facebook pages for any pertinent updates, and even posted a photo. I was really doing it! I met my very first thru hiker at breakfast. I envisioned seeing several PCT hikers at the lodge, but this would be the story of my journey; there just weren’t that many people hiking this year.

I was nervous about being alone in a few short days, and hoped I’d find a buddy to tag along with, (like all the PCT videos I watched on YouTube). I wasn’t scared to hike solo all day, but I was nervous about being alone at night. (If you missed my spooky story of solo camping Labor Day weekend 2019, you can enjoy it here.)

*Shannon was a spunky woman who was not shy in telling me all her terrifying close-encounter animal stories through California. This was NOT the kind of conversation my anxious mind needed. She was averaging 20-mile days, but taking the day off (zero-day), was heading into Ashland today. Shannon would easily catch up to me, and maybe we could try to stay together for a bit. I didn’t think there was any way I would ever be doing 20-mile days, but knowing she wouldn’t be far behind gave me some comfort.

At breakfast, Carl’s vegetable omelet arrived with no veggies, but the fruit plate was amazing, and my little guy enjoyed more lizard viewing.

At last it was time to say goodbye to Callahan’s and to the kids, and we hit the trail. Our 4-year-old was really sad to see mom and dad go, mostly because he wanted to hike with us (he loves to hike).

It was 11:15 a.m. and my heart was heavy to see my daughter and son drive off, but my soul was joyous to be on the trail again. It already felt like home. The book described this section as being “somewhat undesirable,” crossing several roads with a close proximity to civilization; but, I loved it! I learned to take the book with a grain of salt. Sure, this section might not compare to the views of Mt. Hood that would greet me at the top of the state, but each day on the trail had it’s own beauty I found easy to appreciate.

More lizards greet us along the way.

Today brought a huge array of landscapes, and a wide variety of vegetation. We saw Junipers, Firs, and Madrones, sweeping views of Mt. Shasta, and most notably, we went right by Pilot Rock.

Turbo bug spray repellant up for grabs – I will need it in a few days!

We had a couple locations of phenomenal views that beckoned snack breaks, and open hillsides with I-5 far below.

As suddenly as it appeared, Pilot Rock was behind us. This felt so magical, and I never tired of it through the whole state as I watched landmarks come and go.

Pilot Rock in our rearview mirror

One of the most interesting vegetation I saw in all of Oregon was during this section; a seed pod or fruit. It looked so edible, and there was definite evidence of critters enjoying it.

Can anyone identify this?

We met another hiker along the way, *Thomas. He was doing all of Oregon as well, but had a hurt knee, and was taking long breaks. We all filtered water at a piped spring (marked by a post in a grassy clearing). We planned on camping only 2 miles ahead near a pond, but we figured water from a piped spring is always preferable to a pond.

Half a mile up from the spring, Carl realized he didn’t have his sunglasses. We dropped our packs, and he ran back to find them. He returned with one of the best “close-encounter” stories of the trail…it just didn’t involve me.

He was running, trying to hurry when he thought, “I should slow down and walk. I won’t see my sunglasses if I’m running.” Nearly 30 seconds later, he saw a HUGE rattlesnake in the trail. He may have stepped right on it if he had still been running. In this area, the PCT was overgrown with thick grasses, so it was hard to see the trail. I made Carl walk in front of me through tall grass sections the rest of the day, and I was happy it was his story to tell, not mine.

We made it to what my book calls “Camp 7” for this PCT section, 1.7 miles south of Hobart Bluff Trailhead. This was Carl’s first real-deal backcountry camping experience. No amenities here, except a great water source. The pond was barely accessible, and the water looked very questionable, but Carl found a pipe with flowing water nearby, much better than the pond! Thomas camped here as well.

Carl and I snagged a wonderful spot with a great view next to a meadow full of wildflowers. This was one of my favorite nighttime locations on the whole trail, and one of my favorite evenings; probably because Carl was with me. Hiking with him was fun, and he made me feel safe. I was nervous I’d be facing the trail alone soon. Not only was I nervous about sleeping in the middle of nowhere all alone, I was nervous about carrying all my gear. With Carl, the weight was shared between the two of us, and my pack already felt so heavy.

We set up the tent and had dinner, now equipped with plasticware from the lodge. We no longer had to eat with my toothbrush! The most amazing sunset followed. We sat on a big rock for over an hour watching the sky turn colors as a doe grazed in the meadow nearby.

As soon as it was completely dark, we saw city lights below that added to the whole scene. The weather was perfect, it never got cold, and there were ZERO mosquitoes, even though we were right by the pond. It felt like a miracle. Despite the nervousness in the back of my mind, my heart was full, and my smile was wide.

*I’ve changed the names of fellow hikers I met along the way for privacy.
Did you miss the beginning of my PCT Oregon journey? Here is Day One.