Maiden Peak Shelter to Shelter Cove to Whitefish Horse Camp

Only one other person visited the shelter after we tucked ourselves in last night. The man in his 50s wanted to check things out, but not to stay. He had taken a mid-day nap and would be hiking until 2 am to make up for that. He also recommended an alternate trail option we have coming up after Shelter Cove, the Whitefish Creek trail. The alternate leads to a hiker-loving horse campground and cuts 7 miles off the normal PCT route.

Most hiking/ski shelters have mice and the Maiden Peak Shelter is no exception. The trick to dealing with shelter mice is to use common sense: stash your food and trash, don’t cook inside, and hang your bags on bay hooks.  Our sleep was mostly uninterrupted once I accepted mice would be mice and our crap would be just fine.

Alternate Alternate Plans

Brianna was scouring through the National Geographic Oregon PCT map when I walked in the shelter door with our coffees this morning. “I think the Whitefish Creek Trail used to be part of the PCT. This makes it easier for me to justify taking this alternate. Also, it has 7 fewer miles than the normal PCT route does.” 

“Hot damn!” I shouted, slapping my hand down hard on my thigh. “Let’s do it!”

Unlike Brianna, I do not need to justify my reasons for deciding to walk an imaginary line that is different than someone else’s idea of what the imaginary line should be. PCT alternate is just a trail that leaves the PCT at one point and meets back up with it at another point. Some of these alternates are magnitudes more scenic and beautiful than the official route, but even so, some people would say taking an alternate means you did not complete the PCT.

I’m like a barbarian warrior sitting at the bar at the beginning of a Dungeons & Dragons game.

Lefty the Hobbit: “Greetings, adventurer! My party and I are going to attack a goblin’s town to sav…

Wrok the Barbarian: “I’m in.”

Lefty the Hobbit: “But I didn’t even tell you why, yet! Aren’t you the least bit curious?

Wrok the Barbarian: “No. I like to smash goblins.

I don’t care if other people think I hiked the trail correctly or completely. If I was trying to break a speed record, then I’d care. No speed record for me though, I’m just out here to smash some goblins.

Shelter Cove

Shelter Cove is a resort/campground just a mile and a half off the PCT and it’s amazing. Brianna and I put our fast feet on this morning, making the 9.2-mile hike to Shelter Cove in about 3 hours. This place has showers, laundry, a pretty well-stocked camp store, a restaurant, and even a tent area with tables specifically for hikers to organize and hang out.

First items on our checklist to get marked off were showers and laundry. One of the 2 driers was broken, but there wasn’t a line for the washing machines and hiker clothes dry super fast so we were done with those 2 things within an hour.

Next thing we did it find a spot to park our butts under the hiker tent. I picked up our resupply boxes from the store, which contained all the food Brianna and I pre-packed before beginning our adventure. This was my favorite part of our day! Not the sorting food part, the part where we got to socialize with other hikers for a couple of hours. We met Ian the Man, Sandy the dog, Mary, Bubble Wrap, and Echo. This kind of gathering is not something we had experienced before and it filled our souls with joy. People with a common goal all supporting each other, verbally and with supplies. We are hiking faster than we thought now, and eating less, so it was fun donating our extra food to people in need/want.

Whitefish Horse Camp

Our path out of Shelter Cove led down the Whitefish trail to the horse camp. The path was dusty and steep, but we made the 10 miles in about 4 hours. Camp hosts are very cool! So we are told… no one was home when we arrived. A neighboring camper pointed us to a tent for hikers and told us we were more than welcome to stay, so we did. The hosts have a hiker register to sign and a small fridge with cold Shasta pops, which we drank, and a power strip, which we used to charge our Garmin.

All-in-all, one of my favorite trail days of all time. Our social appetite has been sated and we are back to the grind.

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