We stopped after an hour of hiking. "Mom? I can't find my iPod." We searched every pocket in her clothing and pack to no avail. The iPod was gone.
Reluctant to lose more time, I hid my pack behind a log, marking the spot with a branch. Then I turned and ran back toward our campsite, while Sierra continued on ahead.
Reaching the campsite, I quickly scanned the ground where our tent and packs had been to confirm what I already knew. The iPod wasn't there. Almost as an afterthought I walked into a small grove trees where I had seen Sierra playing earlier in the morning. There, on the ground, was the iPod, mostly dry despite the rain.
Running back up the road, I soon reached my pack and hiked on to Summit Lake. Crater Butte rose from across the lake's far shore and was reflected in the lake's still, gray waters. A gray mist hung in the air, partially shrouding trees set against a multi-toned gray sky. I felt as though I had walked into a black and white photograph.
The clouds lifted by lunch. The trail traversed beneath volcanic Diamond Peak, crossing several large snowfields. We filtered water from a fresh snowmelt creek, sampling some of the purest, coldest, tastiest water yet.
The sky began rumbling again. In late afternoon. We pushed harder, hoping to reach Shelter Cove before the storm and in time to pick up our resupply box. But when we reached the Pengra Pass trailhead we stopped in our tracks. The way forward was blocked with yellow tape -- the Bobby Fire closure and reroute apparently started before the turnoff to to Shelter Cove, not after.
Studying the reroute map, I noticed that the rerouted PCT crossed the highway only a half mile from the Willamette Pass Ski Area, which served up pizza and milkshakes on the weekends. We had a new goal.
Rushing to reach the restaurant before closing, we were surprised to see a parking lot full of cars. Then we noticed the signs: the ski area was hosting the Waldo 100k ultramarathon run. Ultrarunners are a great group of people. Several of the runners came over to talk with us while we ate, including my brother's friend John. Julie, who was attending the event with her family, offered us a ride to Shelter Cove. It was late when we finally arrived at Shelter Cove, but we were full, relaxed, and happy. After searching in vain for an empty campsite, we set up camp next to our friends Northstar and Shutterbug and crawled into our tent for the night.