Day 133: (25.8 miles)
mile 1913 – 1936.6 + 2.2 ” bonus miles ”
We got lucky, as it only rained lightly off and on throughout the night. We dressed and packed up inside the “comfort” of our tent. The skies over the lake appeared fairly clear, so after a cup of coffee we were off.
We walked the road around the lake up to the trailhead off hwy 58. The air had a smell of sweet rain, accented with fireside smoke. As we hit the trail two US Forest Service fire crew trucks pulled into the ODOT (Oregon department of transportation) lot adjacent the trailhead. We hoped they weren’t going to tell us the trail was closed due to fire. They did not. The trail is soft and clear of tracks, both human and other.
We walk through a thick corridor of trees covered in Oscar the Grouch green “fur”/moss.
We wonder if you could make a gilly suit out of that moss. Something else to look up when we get home. Feels kind of squatchy we say to each other at the same time, and laugh. Frankly, Paul is seriously disappointed with the number of Sasquatch sightings we’ve had…zero!
Less than 4 miles in (mile 1916), we come upon two actively burning fires parallel to the trail approximately 25 yards on the hillside to our left. Several trees are burning like giant candles, with still more fires burning at the base of a few additional trees. Not knowing really who to call, we call the store at Shelter Cove and report the fire, knowing that at least they would be able to pass the info onto the proper agency. We continue up the trail, hiking in almost perfect conditions. We are hoping for big miles today.
We hike by several small lakes, whose shores are dotted with large campsites. Our lunch stop is to be the Maiden Peak Ski hut. It is a unique, octagon shaped structure mainly used by cross country skiers in the winter months.
It was equipped with solar lighting, rugged mountain furniture and a large wood burning stove. Once lunch is consumed, its time to walk.
The dense green forest opens into a large burn area, that looks like a breeding area for telephone poles. The trail turns from dirt to sand mixed with dark ash left over from the long past fire.
You feel as though you’ve walked into a black and white movie, and you and the colorful flowers nestled in between downed logs have been computer generated. Even the sky is painted shades of grey. We look for a place to bed down, but the landscape is devoid of flat spaces to set up, and/or areas clear of downed trees. The burn area melds into small robust pines varying in heights, all competing for nutrients and sunlight. Dead trees give way to live ones and we are once again in dense forest. All day we are followed by thunder heads. Late into the afternoon thunder echoes in the distance and the clouds above begin to “leak” ever so slightly. It is now starting to get dark and we have passed a few “acceptable” spots, hoping to get as far as we can before the skies open up again. We are trying to make it to a small lake that is near the trail for our water for dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast, but as the skies darken from the moisture rich clouds and the now settled sun, we make a hasty camp on a flat spot adjacent the trail in order to beat the rain. As I finish setting up camp, Paul breaks for water, and returns saying that if we would have gone another 10 minutes we would have reached the lake and prefab campsites… figures. This seems to happen to us regularly, but then there are also times when we pass good spots to camp and end up walking way longer than we’d like (as in hours sometimes), to find another place acceptable for camping. We ate our dinner and prepped our tent and gear in anticipation of another major soaking. We secretly hope this preparation is for not.