Mile 2188 to 2208
Ixnay gets a jump on us again, leaving while we are still packing up. From our tent site we enjoy smoke haze views back on Mount Hood. We finish the remaining bit of our climb and dash the 5 miles to the piped spring. It is a 1″ PVC pipe jammed into the ground, allowing the tiniest trickle to spill onto the trail. Ixnay is there just finishing up his load. We filter water and push on.
We reach Crest Camp, a car camping spot with picnic tables and a pit toilet. The toilet is surprise magic for Kevin who was just commenting on a particular pending and increasingly urgent task. Unfortunately his pit stop is stopped by a locked and closed for business door. Charlie Brown has never Ugh-ed and Oh Good Grief-ed louder. The tragic-magic sends Kevin off to the bushes for a disappointing alternate plan.
As promised by yesterday’s southbounder, Sheep Lake and Green Lake are anything but lakes. Sheep Grass and Green Grass would be better names. As we break a Japanese northbounder appears looking very sad indeed. He apparently did not get the translated memo and is now down to just a slurp of water. I refill his bottle from mine since I am always carrying too much. He is very appreciative and asks to take my picture. I guess I will be in the Japanese slide show in addition to the Alaskan one.
We hike towards Berry Mountain, where a posted sign warns the harvest limit for Huckleberries is 3 gallons. We have hardly seen any berries for days and are now very much looking forward to our 3 gallons each. Suffice it to say we did not find 3 berries each, let alone gallons. Even Mother Nature is jerking our chains with this tragic-magic.
We push on towards our next water at Blue Lake. Kevin and I get ahead of Ixnay who is carrying more food and a heavier pack. At the lake we make cheese and salami bagel sandwiches, and pretend not to notice the skinny dippers and nude sun bathers at the lake. When Ixnay arrives he is apparently distracted by the natural beauty because he does not notice us. He then goes on ahead thinking he is behind. We now have to quickly pack up and chase down the guy who is trying to chase us down. His significant lead allows the chase-chase to go on for miles. Luckily he stops for water or we may still be going.
We are in a long stretch with no tent sites listed on the map. Our strategy is to find any flat spot within striking distance of Forest Service Road 23, our hitch spot to Trout Lake. The pickings are slim so we settle for a spot sooner than I would like. This will make a long tomorrow for Kevin and me, so we plan to get up and leave in the dark. Ixnay does not need to go into Trout Lake so will enjoy a more leisurely day.