Sunday, September 02, 2012

Day 134-What's Cooler than Mile 2,000?

From campsite at mile 2203 to campsite at Mosquito Lake outlet creek at mile 2227

We were passed by Heart and Gone Fishing while we were still packing up. Then we were underway ourselves. The trail was just as soft underfoot as it had been the evening before. It was smooth enough that Portrait read to me from an essay he liked about sharing candy. While doing that we met two hikers, Spork and Chimp, who passed us.

We saw them not too far up the trail. There was trail magic: two five gallon buckets. One had a few bags of pretzels the other was for the wrappers. As we munched on pretzels there was discussion about leaving trash in the bucket. It was decided as okay and than one of the Texan brothers noticed written on the register several notes asking us not to leave our trash.

Right after the magic was a little back country campground with picnic tables, pit toilet, and it looked like only one family was there enjoying their long weekend. There was no trash cans though.

The trail started to climb after the campground. Ripe huckleberries lined the trail. I stopped a few times to play bear and eat berries. In the open areas near the berries we had glimpses of the volcanoes-mostly Hood which was getting smaller every day and Mount Adams who was surprisingly large when we saw him for the first time that morning.
Mount Adams, getting closer

I heard hooves on the switchback below us and for one magical moment I thought we had a herd of elk coming up the trail. It was horses instead. We hiked a bit further before they caught up. We stepped of trail on the downhill side. The first rider was friendly and asked about the hike. The fourth and last horse in the train had no rider and was spooked by two dogs running forward to check out me and Portrait. One of the horses hooves went out from under him, kicking up a cloud of dust. We were both pretty sure the horse was going to fall on us, but then they were moving along up trail.

The rest of the climb up was much less eventful and had even fewer huckleberries to nibble. From the top we only had a couple of miles of downhill to bring us to lunch at Blue Lake.

I cooked a breakfast Mountain House meal down at the lake. It was windy and made cooking hard. I think I wasted half of the lunch break fussing with my stove. Once cooked it was a tasty meal. But lunch felt short when we left the lake shore.

The profile showed no big climbs or descents-just a gentle day of hiking. Portrait and I spent most of the day speculating on life post-PCT. It is usually a topic hikers avoid talking about, but it made the time go by faster. It was a somewhat boring stretch of trail, but that made it special being so easy.

The mile marker we made
Around five we reached the mile marker that I had been looking forward to for awhile: 2222.22. We stopped for a snack and to make a fun marker with each two made from something different from the forest floor. It looked very pretty when we were done. The break took longer than I thought so I was pretty sure we'd be night hiking into camp again.

Portrait thought we'd get in earlier, even after I stopped to rub on some pain relieving cream on my tendon. I still wasn't sure as we walked into the golden light of pre-sunset. Right about then an elk ran up the hill, over the trail, and continued uphill. I was in front and completely blocked Portrait's view.
We crossed the outlet creek of Mosquito Lake just as it got dark and arrived in camp 0.1 further with just enough light to see by. I was surprised that it was only 8:10 and so dark. I had to make a trip back to the outlet for water and by that time it was 8:30 and fully dark.

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