Day 98: Getting Better

Mile reached: 2234.5 (+29.3)

High: Getting in and out of town quickly while still taking a break and putting up some miles.

Low: It was very cold in the morning and misting lightly. Meanwhile, I had little in the way of warm clothes.

“Gandalf” was up and gone almost an hour before I left camp, but I still got started before most. The terrain for almost all of the morning was relatively easy, just gentle ups and downs. There was, however, little in the way of flowing water. Namely, there were a few ponds of varying degrees of muckiness, and a 10 mile water carry from them. So, I selected one that seemed passable and continued on.

The nicest pond!

For most of the morning, the trail crossed through the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Tragically, there was a P2k just a few miles east, but I had neither route information nor the time to pursue it. The morning was quite cold and misty with low clouds overhead. After passing a few trail registers, I could see that “Gandalf” was just ahead. Surpassingly, “Fruit Salad” had passed through just a day before us. Until now, we figured that we’d never catch her.

The low clouds parted but just for a moment.

Just a little before lunch, I found “Gandalf” sitting next to a creek at the bottom of a large climb up to a major road. I ate a brief lunch while he had a smoke, and then we powered up the hill. The plan was to get to the road and catch a ride into the tiny community of Trout Lake, but there isn’t much traffic on the road. So, it was unclear how long it would take to hitch. At the top of the hill I had one bar and was able to call the General Store. The proprietor informed me that a local was dropping someone off at 2 pm and that we should be able to catch that ride back to town. With only an hour to get to the road we raced down the trail arriving with plenty of time to spare. However, the expected vehicle never arrived, but after a while we scored a hitch.

Trout Lake was easily one of the smallest towns on the trail having only a restaurant, post office, and general store. Much to our delight they did have some pretty awesome huckleberry milkshakes! After a quick resupply and polishing off a six pack, we called a local trail angel, who gladly drove us back up to the trail.

Tug of war. I won!

Back on trail we would only do a few miles up a substantial climb to make the next morning easier. With the sun setting it was already getting quite cold, but I was comfortable while moving. As we reached the spring and our agreed upon campsite, we discovered that the relatively recent forest fire had obliterated the tent sites. So, we had to hike miles further up Mount Adams to the next campsite, which was in a meadow. It was misty and cold, and I didn’t have a puffy jacket, for which “Gandalf” repeatedly taunted me. “Red Cross” was also sleeping in the meadow, and our arrival woke him up. Now no longer warmed by the uphill climb, I didn’t talk long with him and rushed to set up my tent. As soon as I could get into my quilt, I did and ate dinner inside before quickly falling asleep.

Aptly describing how we all felt about now, or not.
I could just barely see Mount Adams though the burned forest at sunset.
Camp. It was wet.

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