Day Six
Green Lake to Blue Lake

Four miles

Summary: A quick trek to a highlight of this section--Blue Lake. Plan for a rest day here if possible.

The beauty of Blue Lake is a backdrop to our campsite and another "power nap" for Rick.

From my journal: "Blue Lake is everything Green Lake is not. Blue Lake is a high mountain lake lined with forest and rock fall. Green Lake is a lowland pond turning into a swamp. Blue Lake has 5300-foot Mt. Gifford at one end and an outlet stream at the other end. Green Lake has swamp grass on all sides of it. Blue Lake's water is pure for swimming and drinking. Green Lake's water is stagnant and must be treated. Blue Lake is a popular dayhike destinations. Green Lake is desolate-for a good reason. Only the desperate camp there."

On another sunny, warm morning, we happily broke camp and left the "pond." On the way to Blue Lake, we ate huckleberries and ravished the views of Mt. St. Helens. We could clearly see the V the eruption took out of the mountainside, and I shared some St. Helens stories with Rick. He was surprised by the death toll of 65 people.

In no time we were at the lake. It was as beautiful as the guidebook said it would be. This was Rick's first Cascade Mountain lake, and he loved every bit of it. With its pure, clear waters, we could look into its jeweled depths. The temperature wasn't too frigid either. We both went swimming as soon as we got there-and Rick went two more times that day. We also did a lot of laundry, pounding our dirty clothes on the rocks as if we were in Africa. We both took a nap in the heat of the afternoon and just lazed around as if it were a total rest day. We need this break after six days on the trail.

Rick gets ready to dive into the lake, hat and all.

He's loving it even if the water is cold.. but where is his hat?

I'm celebrating our arrival at the lake with the last of the cognac.

The 5,368-foot Gifford Peak rises above Blue Lake.

That night we had a pasta dinner with smoked salmon and then headed for the far end of the lake to watch Mars rise and have a campfire. Rick even brought along a star chart he had carried with him. Mars is the closest it has been to Earth in 600 centuries, so it was a thrill to watch it rise over the lake. Its light was clearly reflected in the waters. We tried to spot some constellations, but could only identify the obvious ones: Big and Little Dipper and Cassiopeia. Around the fire, we talked about how great the trip had been and how well we got along. After six days, you might think we'd be at each other's throats, but we grew closer as we shared stories and trail adventures.

It didn't take much to get a blaze going at the site we found at the end of the lake.

Walking back to our campsite in the dark was a challenge, even with headlamps, because this end-of-the-lake campsite was on a side trail. Somehow we made it back and quickly got into our sleeping bags for another restful night. I would have to say that Blue Lake was my favorite spot of this first week. I would have liked to stay longer. But we only had two days left to cover 24 miles in order to make the rendezvous. The cousins had to remain on the run...

Day Seven
Day Eight-Part One
Day Eight-Part Two
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
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