Day Five
Cedar Creek to Green Lake

11 miles

Summary: Another dry section where you need to fill up wherever their is potable water. The Big Lava Bed is somewhat disappointing. Sheep Lake is a disgusting swamp--do not even think of camping there. Green Lake is slightly better, but a smart hiker won't stop until Blue Lake.

We got a late start and Rick's tendon slowed him down, but I was still hoping to reach Blue Lake on Day Five. The guide book described the two possible campsites prior to Blue Lake as dismal spots next to ponds. I wasn't looking forward to camping next to a swamp.

Soon after we climbed back up the switchbacks to the PCT, we took a detour to the top of Big Huckleberry Mountain. We hoped to have great views of Adams, Hood and the river, but we could tell there was a forest fire down in the gorge. We saw helicopters and airplanes attacking the fire--they were little specks of action far away, like bees buzzing around a flower. There was quite a lot of smoke, so we couldn't get the best views, but we did say good-bye to the Columbia River and its splendidly beautiful gorge.

About two miles beyond the trail junction, the guide book said there was an intermittent spring. When we found it, it was still running, even though we were having a prolonged drought and forest fires. If I had planned the trip better, we would have hiked beyond Trout Creek on Day Three, maybe to Wind River or Panther Creek. Then on Day Four we could have made it all the way to this spring, which had a developed campsite (full of deadfall), and the halfway point to Blue Lake. The jaunt from this setting to Blue Lake would have been a doable 12 miles.

But the planning was not the best. We had already been on the trail for an hour and Blue Lake seemed too far away. We continued through forest and after a few miles, we skirted the edge of the Big Lava Bed. I expected something like Craters of the Moon in Idaho--real desolation--but there were trees, brush and other plants growing amid the large lava rocks. "You may encounter one or two springs," the guidebook said. We found one spring with a weak trickle. "Do we really have to use this?" Rick asked. "Yes, you never know if there is going to be any more water ahead." For once, I was right, as there was no more water until Sheep Lake.

On we trudged to the Crest Campground set by a Forest Service road. There was some light traffic on the road and the campground was invaded by yellowjacket wasps. I quickly ate my salami and cheese and wanted to get out of there, but Rick was taking a power nap atop a picnic table. Our first possible campsite, Sheep Lake, was only two miles ahead. I told Rick I wanted to hoof it there and would see him in two miles.

I'm crossing the road at the Crest Campground. The sign reads "Pacific Crest Trail, No. 2000."

When I got to Sheep "Lake" I found a swamp with horse hooves all over the place. While the guidebook said there were smaller ponds off the trail, I couldn't find them. "We just can't camp here," I thought to myself. Fortunately Rick agreed when he arrived. Even though his tendon hurt, he couldn't see staying here. The guidebook said "Green Lake" was a mile ahead, so we walked to that possible destination.

Green Lake was more of a pond and less of a swamp, but still unimpressive. But Rick's foot hurt and he didn't want to push himself the next four miles to Blue Lake. I deferred to my cousin and we set up camp in the trees near the water. I pulled out the Aqua Mira to treat the water for the first time in our travels.

Rick walked out to the end of a log to get water out of Green "Lake." The water was so murky at the shoreline that we wished we had a filter.

To save water, we had a freeze dried meal of rice and beans and called it a night. We told ourselves we wanted a fast start tomorrow to what could be one of the best spots on the trip--a high mountain lake.

But in the middle of the night it started to sprinkle. Rick woke me up and we quickly put up the rain fly in the dark. Until this point in the trip we never even unpacked it. We did an expert job, but by the time we were done, the rain had stopped. Later I had a crazy dream about being late for my daughter's wedding. When you are sleeping in a tent, you can't help but wake up three or four times in a night. This makes it easier to remember your dreams.

Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight-Part One
Day Eight-Part Two
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Return to Tom's PCT Page