Day 113 – mile 2174 to 2203 – Washington is Burning Camp to Blue Lake is Blue Camp:
My interpretation of Washington so far is that it’s just a more strenuous version of the least eventful parts of Oregon. An endless green tunnel that, instead of being flat, is either climbing or descending steeply. Today was exactly that, up and down a couple of times in the trees.
Actually, now that I think of it, the first six miles of the day were flat. The first flat miles encountered in Washington, in fact. The cool morning cruising was easy through this stretch and completely uneventful. The trees were beautiful, as always, draped in moss and gigantic. I gathered water at Panther Creek before starting the biggest climb on the schedule.
The trail switchbacked 3,000ft up through an ‘Experimental’ forest. I have no idea what the experiment was, but the forest was pleasant enough and I wasn’t attacked by mutants of any kind, so I was satisfied. Big Huckleberry Mountain had no huckleberries to be seen, even little ones, and the one view between the trees was a smoky mess. Right now I’m walking towards a really big fire, so this was expected, but disappointing all the same. With no reason to hang around on top, I skedaddled down the other side, eager to see what the trees looked like on this side.
They looked the same. Skirting around the edge of a really old lava field, I made it to a campground. With picnic benches and an outhouse, it looked like a good enough place to have lunch, so I unloaded then and there to begin shoveling salami and cheese into my mouth. But it was a trap! Yellow jackets and hornets soon swarmed around me, looking for whatever yellow jackets and hornets look for. They didn’t want to bother me and I certainly didn’t want to bother them, but sitting like a statue isn’t my idea of relaxing. When I couldn’t take the tension anymore, I carefully packed up my things and left them behind.
Some more climbing through trees got me some more smoky vistas. Still no sign of Mt. Adams in the mire. With evening approaching, I hastened my descent to Blue Lake, which was still very blue in the fading light. It must be wondrous in the Sun’s full bombardment. With camping restricted to designated sites only, and no sites designated, I’ve set up camp next to the ‘No Camping’ sign. If I’m going to break the rules, I may as well own it.
Amazingly, the water didn’t turn my mashed potatoes blue. A salubrious supper to fuel the next adventure. Perhaps I’ll break through the trees tomorrow and Adams will appear in dramatic fashion. Maybe the trees will never end.
No more whispers of revolution from my hamstrings today. I guess it was just the rust shaking off. I’m sure my pace will need to slacken soon, but for now I seem to be holding up just fine.