Day 91: (20 miles)
mile 1196.5 – 1216.5
Today was mostly up, like 15 of the 20 miles. The first 8 included a climb of over 3000 feet over our favorite type of trail… Rocks!
We passed the 1200 mile mark and did our best not to melt in the day’s warm and dry air. We hit a few springs which were amazing as the water was icy cold and delicious. As this is the Lakes Basin Recreation Area, we should not have been surprised to eye at least half a dozen turquoise and/or deep blue pristine lakes below us as we trekked along. Most, with the exception of Deer Lake, were a bit of an off trail trek to get to. We had hoped to treat ourselves to a refreshing swim in Summit Lake at the 15 mile mark for the day, but the water was less than inviting as it looked more to be a swamp than a lake. Curses…should have made the detour to Deer Lake. After a rest in the shade and mini battles with large black ants and several marauding mosquitoes we marched on…uphill of course. When we reached our 20 mile marker (mile 1216, we were surprised to see a brackish pond near the quasi campsites, and lots of signage that was quite confusing. We finally figured out where the spring was (east of us and 600ft up another trail), and boy was it was worth it.
Again we were treated to ice cold, as in ice cream headache, tasty water flowing from a pipe. We guzzled until our heads couldn’t take it anymore and Paul surrendered to the mosquitoes. Once all our water receptacles were filled we returned to the main trail to set up camp, with a quick sponge bath at the slow moving creek to follow. We set up our tent on a flat piece of real estate, and quickly found out why it’s always a good idea to stake your tent down wind or no wind. When we turned to grab our camp towels (more like ShamWow chamois) our tent disappeared. For an instant we looked at each other like, didn’t we just set up the tent which then morphed into ‘what did you do with the tent’? A little gust/puff of wind had picked it up and moved it 20 ft or so, initially out of our line of sight. Thank goodness this happened just before we went to wash up. Who knows where it would have ended up had it gone all Mary Poppins on us in our absence. We recovered the tent, staked it down, washed up, changed into sleep clothes and ate. Just before we dozed off, we were treated to an amazing sunset.
Beautiful country up there. My grandparents used to camp in that area. When my grandfather died in 1984, my grandmother and family scattered his ashes there. 22 years later, she followed and we brought her remains up to join his soul in the mountains they loved.