Oregon F

July 4, Mon.–27.9 miles–Oregon F

Mon. July 4      Miles today: 27.9       Total so far: 945.9          Oregon Section F

Warm Springs River bridge

Warm Springs River bridge

It’s MUCH easier to do morning packup when we have no tarp or net tent to bother with!  We were eager to go in the cool (45 degree) clear morning light.  We hiked the couple of miles to Warm Springs River for breakfast, and ate fast–it was still a bit chilly to be eating cold granola. 

 The trail through the forest gets prettier all the time, with lots of wildflowers.  And I had lots of TIME to admire them, because poor Bill is having a bit of a tough time.  He has multiple aches and pains, and says he just feels really tired.  I found myself bounding ahead (I felt great), then realizing, “Oh no, I’ve lost Bill” and then I would stop and wait for him.  I guess it’s a tradeoff.  In southern California, I was often the slow one, and Bill had to wait for me, unless his feet were really hurting.

Wow!  Really awesome PCT sign!

Wow! Really awesome PCT sign!

At around 9:30 am, we passed the 45th parallel (halfway between the Equator and the North Pole!), and we stopped to celebrate.  I also brushed my teeth (forgot to do it after breakfast).  We are really enjoying the beautifully-cared for PCT in this area, and when we reached Timothy Lake, all I can say is, “Wow!”  Every junction had beautifully carved trail signs, and there was even a “Gateway to the PCT” arch.  Lots of work was obviously being done on the trail, especially in what would have been the mucky places.  They’re in the process of creating a raised trail, which right now is more like a long raised hump through the forest.  But it keeps us out of the mud!

On the downside, since this is the 4th of July weekend, and this is a car and boat camping area, we had two very annoying run-ins with dogs.  The first was near the lake, when a large black dog came roaring up from a boat-in campsite, ears back, fangs out, and blocked the trail, growling and barking, while the owner helplessly tried to call him back.  Bill threatened to whack the dog with his trek poles, and the owner managed to grab it by the collar and drag it back, but she was very huffy and indignant because we had threatened to hurt her dog.

A little while later we met three dayhikers, each with a dog.  All the dogs were offleash, and all three of them rushed at us and blocked the trail, doing the growl/fangs/bark routine.  We were pretty disgusted, and told the owners what we thought of them, and that we would not attempt to pass till each dog had someone holding it by the collar, well off the trail.  “There is a REASON for the rule that all dogs have to be onleash on trails, ” we told them, “and we’ve got sticks to whack dogs with if we need to.” 

Bill commented afterwards that no dog which thinks it’s OK to harass people should EVER be in public, without a leash.  Even better, such undisciplined animals should stay at home.  Growling and snarling to ourselves about irresponsible owners and rude dogs, we hiked on till we found a vacant campsite by the lake where we could cook dinner and rest a bit.  And there we found MORE evidence of irresponsible people–the place was totally littered with beer cans and trash, plus an empty styrofoam cooler. 

Bill gets a swim!

Bill gets a swim!

We cleaned it all up, then Bill went for a quick swim in the lake, which was covered with a floating layer of yellow pine pollen.  “You’ve been pollinated!” I teased him when he came drippng ashore. “Maybe you’ll grow pine needles instead of hair!”  I was busy meanwhile cooking dinner and enjoying the pretty lake view.  Watching the antics of all the boaters on the lake was fun, too. 

Little Crater Lake--worth a side trip

Little Crater Lake--worth a side trip

We hiked on, headed for Little Crater Lake, which sounded pretty amazing, according to the guidebook.  And it was.  What a unique little lake!  It actually is the same deep,intense blue as “Big” Crater Lake, because it is so deep.  Apparently it’s actually a very large artesian well.  The water looked so good that we filled up our water bottles there.

On into the afternoon, we did a long contour through a magnificent forest, where the trail was lined with magnificent, blooming rhododendrons and the ground was covered with deep moss. Every now and then, we’d get a great view of Mt. Hood.  Shortly after crossing Wapinitia Pass (Highway 26) we met some dayhikers with a NICE dog that wagged its tail and walked politely right past us.  (OK, maybe we won’t condemn ALL dogs-on-trail after all!)  Our camp tonight is once again just the ground cloth under us and trees and stars above.  Bill says when he gets to Timberline Lodge tomorrow, he wants lots of ice cream!  I think he needs it–he’s lost a lot of weight.  And hey, I want some ice cream, too!  When I figured out our mileage for today, I was amazed–27 plus miles, even though Bill was often walking slowly.  If he’d been up to his normal speed, we could have easily passed the 30 mile mark!

July 3, Sun.–20.6 miles–Oregon F Ollalie Lake

Sun. July 3     Miles today: 20.6      Total so far: 918             Oregon Section F

Ollalie Lake, a fisherman, and Mt. Jeff--classic!

Ollalie Lake, a fisherman, and Mt. Jeff--classic!

We slept in a bit this morning, to be sure the Ollalie Lake store would be open when we got there.  We walked the couple of miles, and it turned out that the store is a busy place–even though it was early, people were already lining up to rent both boats and cabins.  Only “human-pwered” boats are allowed on the lake, and no swimming or even wading, so Ollalie Lake is very pure, and the fish grow BIG!  Needless to say, there were plenty of fishermen!

We really enjoyed the store at Ollalie. It’s small, but VERY well-organized,with friendly, helpful, hiker-savvy staff.  We went through our resupply box while drinking the tasty coffee and eating giant muffins.  I have to say this: the coffee in Oregon is awesome!  Every place we have been so far in this state has really good coffee.  Can’t say that of California!  

 To add to the fun, we were eating, drinking and doing resupply while sitting on the cozy store porch with a great view of the lake and Mt. Jefferson shining in the morning sun.  I wanted to make a phone call home, but it turned out that Ollalie Lake resort has no phone. They have a radio for emergencies, but that’s it.  I finished up some journal writing at a picnic table by the lake.  It was really beautiful, and another moment when I wished we didn’t have to be worried about “making miles.”  I would have loved to just hang out there for hours!  But the trail was calling. 

We're glad to be on the PCT!

We're glad to be on the PCT!

Shortly after we got back on the PCT again, we met another SOBO, named “Highlander”–and well he deserves it–a classic, tall, strong Scotchman with a delightful accent.  We took pictures of each other and had a great chat.  Highlander started at Campo in the beginning of April.  From Kennedy Meadows he skipped up to Canada, and now he was headed south.  He’s one tough, but very nice guy.

Rhodies!  We really ARE in Oregon.

Rhodies! We really ARE in Oregon.

From there the trail went nicely contouring around the mountains and we began to get some fine views of Mt. Hood with a long plume of cloud streaming from its top.  The wild rhododendrons were more and more numerous and lovely, so the trail was lined with pink blooms.  And the forest itself is changing color–every tree is putting out new green growth on every twig tip, so the result is the forest takes on a sort of shimmering, iridescent green look. 

 We refilled our water bottles at Lemiti Creek, which had an old wooden bridge for hikers and a ford for horses.  We did meet one horse and rider on the trail today, plus several weekend backpackers.

 

Tree farm "patchwork quilt"

Tree farm "patchwork quilt"

The PCT in this area is actually travelling through an Indian reservation, and we were pleased to see that the reservation folks are really using their forests and caring for them, not just leaving them untouched and full of dead branches.  We went through one logged area that looked great.  All the big trees were gone, and there were stumps left, plus a few burn piles–but LOTS of healthy new growth of a variety of trees, plus of course wildflowers and rhodies.  From a distance, these logged /regrowing areas looked like a pretty patchwork quilt.  I think it’s great–so much better than the Mordor-dead look of the burned forests we’ve been through, where the blind, foolish, environmentalist, “just-let-nature-happen” mentality is the rule.  What a horrible way to treat a forest!  Those areas will remain devastated for years, instead of quickly regrowing healthy and green.

Tonight we camped in the forest about two miles from the Warm Springs River.  Finding a campsite was not easy–there’s so much undergrowth here!  It was a clear night, so we dispensed with the tarp, and no mosquitoes, so we dispensed with the net tent.  It is WONDERFUL to be out under the stars again–I have really missed it.  I love to lie in my sleeping bag and look up at all the beauty of the night sky, and talk to God about all the things that happened during the day, and ask Him to watch over our family and friends back at home.