Cedar Creek to Green Lake
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
Day Eight-Part One
Day Eight-Part Two
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