From mile 1860 to the junction with the Oregon Skyline Trail at mile 1882
It was nice waking up a few times during the night and hearing the creek. It made it easy to go back to sleep. Lemur was the first one up and moving, followed by Portrait, and then me (although I was awake before anyone). It was nice having Lemur there-someone highly motivated to get up and going. Even before getting sick I've gotten a little sluggish in the morning.
When we left camp we went up through pine forest. The high point for OR/WA was a few miles pass camp. Once there it was kind of a disappointment. The high point was in the middle of a field, it was a slight swell to the land. An old and weather eaten sign declared it the highest point. I don't think we even paused, although we did find some shade and a log just north of there for snack.
After the break it was all down hill, or at least it was for a bit. We hiked through more pine forest. Portrait had lead the way so far-when I had been sick and on the mend I had lead the way so we wouldn't get separated. Portrait was only just in sight-I think he was enjoying hiking at a normal pace.
I convinced Portrait to stop for an early lunch. My hiker hunger had been missing since I'd gotten sick, and still wasn't back, but my body wanted a break. We found a nice shady spot to sit for awhile. It felt really good on my tired back to just relax and lean against my pack.
After lunch the trail meandered uphill and down. Our next goal was the spring and the four miles to get there after lunch were uneventful. There was still thick smoke covering the views, but there were too many trees for many views anyway.
The .3 side trail off the ridge to the spring was horribly buggy. It made it a challenge to fill the bottles quickly and start the long climb uphill. The spring reminded me a lot of an AT spring. The forest was green around it, the mosquitoes were starved for blood, and it was way down off the ridge. Pretty good water, even if mine had a lot of dirt floating in it. I drank a whole liter while having a snack back on top of the ridge.
While I was nibbling Portrait reminded me we still had six miles to go and if I wanted to get there before 8:30 (when I turn into a pumpkin) we should get going.
So away we went for an uphill mile. Then some down hill miles. Then I started to turn into a pumpkin a little earlier than expected. I thought we were making good time and would be getting to the trail junction at every bend in the trail. Every bend lead to disappointment. Then, finally there was the trail junction. I did a little happy dance and was about ready to toss of my pack when Portrait told me it wasn't the right junction. It was buggy there anyway.
Onward again, feeling more sluggish than before. It wasn't too long before we arrived at the right trail junction. It was at a forest road with 7 gallon water jugs, camping places, and a fire ring. While Portrait looked around for where we'd go in the morning I quickly, and on impulse, started a small campfire. It seemed to help with the mosquitoes some, but mostly it was just a nice treat. A Southbound section hiker came in at dark and cooked his dinner over the fire. While he cooked we asked him for trail info from the north. We kept the fire small so it was easy to put out at the end of the night.