Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saddle with a good view of Mt. Jefferson

It was great to be able to get out of my tent and do everything I needed to do wtihout mosquitoes bothering me.

I wanted to get an early start but it was the same time as every day. I felt tired. I choked down some fig newtons and set off for Big Lake Youth Camp to get water. It was 6 miles away. My water supply was very low.

The burned forest eventually became green again. I never saw Cold Spring, the spring the book made sound like just a pool of horse urine.

I found the turnoff to Big Lake. I had arrived just in time for breakfast, so I payed the $5.50 and got not just water but an all-I-could-eat delicious breakfast full of fruit and yogurt and eggs and coffeecake and lots more. I stuffed myself. Lately I had been letting myself get stomach-growling hungry, mostly because of a lack of water to prepare anything and mosquitoes making it difficult to eat. I thought maybe I felt tired because of not eating so I ate heartily of all the delicious food. One thing I reallylove about civilization is refrigeration. Eating and drinking cold things is so wonderful.

I set off into burned forest again, water bottles full. I could not believe how hot it was. I wore my umbrella and sweat profusely. I dragged myself to Santiam Pass highway where there was a cooler full of snicker bars, oreos and soda. A hiker named IRish from last year left this stach. It made my day. I should have drunk two Pepsis, but I restrained myself. Too bad because the one barely helped me continue down the trail I felt so drained by the heat.

The trail went on forever with no good water in sight and no shade. The trail could best be described as abandoned. At times I wasn't sure I was on the trail. It was mostly fallen, burned trees and walking over and around them. No trail tread at all in many places. Just a rockiness that was more distinct than the rest of the burned forest.

At 6pm I reached a small pond that I mistook for "beautiful Rockpile Lake", thinking that maybe the guide book was being facetious since it lies so much anyway. I filled up my bottles with the shallow water and went on a few hundred yards and there it was: the truly beautiful Rockpile Lake. I kept going.

Thunder clouds had gathered so I hoped to find a good camp spot before it rained. I took a second to stuff my sleeping bag into a plastic bag in case it rained.

Shortly after Rockpile lake I met a thru-hiker going south named Socks. He seemed so excited, as most thru-hikers going south seemed to be. He stopped to talk for a while but I eventually had to say good-bye and press on.

I walked through a lovely flat area with multi-hued cinder cones surronding it. Later I traversed a slope filled with small frogs leaping everywhere. I had to take care not to step on them.

Finally around 7 with my feet aching and my stomach growling I pulled into my saddle which was teeming with mosquitoes thanks to the big snow patches all around. I made my camp anyway because it appeared I might be in for a long night if I didn't.

It took a long time in my tunnel-shaped, giant tent to kill and the bugs that followed me inside. There was a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson just out of view of my door. I had climbed the shoulders of the Sisters and Three-fingered Jack. I had met lots of people. Hikers, backpackers, thru-hikers, mountain climbers and even Trekker Bob again. It had been a good day.

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