Mile reached: 2205.2 (+39.0)
High: Washington is not Oregon!
Low: “Extra Miles” decided to go into town early and skip 32 miles without running it by us first.
Again, I was the last one out of camp. The morning immediately began with a 1,000 foot climb and promptly lost all of the elevation. All of this was through dense, lush forest that was entirely different in character than what we had encountered just a few miles south on the other side of the Columbia. There was just so much water everywhere, and the moss covering everything made it seem like a rainforest.
Within a few miles, I caught “Extra Miles”, who seemed to be going slow but was otherwise in good spirits. Catching “Gandalf” took me the better part of the morning, but eventually I did just a little before lunch. He remarked how he thought I’d catch him much earlier, and we need a few more miles before having lunch on the bank of a substantial river.
From our vantage point we watched in amusement as someone on the far bank struggled to get down the steep slope to the water dropping her bottle in the process. Ultimately, she gave up and came over to where we were to fill up. Shortly thereafter, “Extra Miles” arrived enthused by the fact that she had no pack. Someone had offered to let her slackpack and would drop her backpack off on the trail 11 miles ahead. She took off, and “Red Cross” appeared joining us for that last few minutes of our lunch. He had received the same slackpack offer but refused it out of some combination of stubbornness and principle.
The afternoon began with a substantial climb. Again I passed “Extra Miles”, who was one again reunited with her pack. After that it was an endless ridge climb that was largely dry. By early evening, I reached a developed campground next to a road where I waited for the others to arrive. “Extra Miles” was the last to show up and quickly asked what we would think if she went into Trout Lake from here, 32 miles short of where we had agreed to go in. Over the previous day, we had devised a plan to spend the night in town largely at her request. However, after a few minutes of discussion we discovered that the conversation was pointless. Several miles back she has already called to arrange a ride.
“Gandalf” and I decided to do a few more miles before camping then. However, our desired campsites were either nonexistent or marginal. So, we ended up doing a few more miles than expected before camping at a beautiful (but extremely windy) lake next to a day use only sign. It was dark and late, and neither of us were in the mood to go hunting for the approved camping area.