Tuesday July 25, 2017: Salvation Spring to Wahtum Lake: 12 miles
Per our usual we are up early and out of camp around 7am. I am so thankful that Sarah is an agreeable early riser, walking during the cool and quiet morning hours is my favorite. We knew we had an immediate climb right out of camp and with how yesterday went this might take us a while so better to get it over with while it’s cooler out. We are both pretty sore and tired but the morning is lovely again so it helped improve our moods.
We agreed to be better about taking breaks today since we failed so miserably yesterday and probably suffered the worse for it. Luckily the views today make it easy to take our time and enjoy ourselves.
The sky is super clear today and as we pop out of the forest into wildflower lined talus slopes we can see the mountains to our North. Mt Adams, Mt. Rainer, and Mt Saint Helen’s loom in the hazy distance beckoning us onward.
I get excited when I hear my favorite furries meeping in the boulders but can’t catch a glimpse of any Pika’s. I love you, please show your tiny furry bodies!!!
I get distracted from trying to lure Pika’s out when I see some smoke rising up off to our left and a helicopter dropping water buckets on the gorge fire that has been smoldering up here for a few weeks. We watch the efforts for a few minutes and then wind down around to our right back into the shaded forest. We soon hit the junction of the closed Eagle Creek Trail where we take a nice long lunch break.
There is a nice shady spot in the trees across from the blazing hot picnic table (you can’t have it all) and a spring here that is soooo cold. I spread out the tyvek sheet under the trees, we take our shoes off, eat yummy lunches, and filter the delicious freezing water. Sarah’s feet are really bothering her so she also soaks them in our folding bucket, which helps even though the water is so cold it hurts. While we are chilling we hear the sound of a big something coming along the gravel road and a truck pulls up to drop off porta-potties, which is admittedly pretty exciting! We chat with the driver for a few minutes about the trail and section hiking, he’s chugging a cold soda and I eye it with envy. Soon he is off and I head into a nice clean porta-potty for a great seated poop, LUXURY!
After lazing around for about an hour or so we are off for our last little bit to Wahtum Lake through the quiet forest, the silence only broken occasionally by the helicopter flying back and forth from water to fire. We get to the lake around 2:15pm and find a nice shaded spot a little ways around the lake.
We are both feeling beat and I am finally feeling truly hungry. I did not eat dinner after our long day yesterday, probably not a great idea, and only had some snacks. So after I get the tent up and filter some water I eat a full dinner meal at 3:30pm which consists of freeze dried Chicken and Rice that I added Turmeric, Curry spices, and Fennel seeds to back at home. AND IT IS DELICIOUS. So much yum, WOW. I must make this mixture again. And I’m feeling a little bit better after getting these yummy calories in.
Sarah had a rough day with how painful her feet are and is very quiet when we get to camp. I worry about her a little, get her to eat some, lay around with her feet up, and she finally perks up in the early evening. We chill out all afternoon, do laundry, and then I eat another dinner at 5:30pm of Bacon & eggs wrapped in tortillas. Also very tasty and I’m still kinda hungry after but decide to rein it in for the evening.
The lake is super pretty and even though there are our constant friends the flies, we really have had no mosquito problems, so that’s awesome. It feels great to have a nice afternoon of down time after our long days. We chat with a few thru-hikers who come down to filter water and watch some people fish in inflatable kayaks (there is a road nearby that has a shortish hike in so this is a popular overnight spot) As usual we are vertical in our tent when the sun starts to head to bed as well.
We are not exactly sure what mileage we will do tomorrow. We do not have to be in Cascade Locks until the day after tomorrow when we get to stay in a pre-booked hotel room. Showers! Town food! Beer! and I have some friends meeting us for a little trail magic too. I’m looking forward to a real town resupply. The past few years our half way points have been at Shelter Cove Resort and Big Lake Youth Camp, which are lovely, but we still had to camp and had limited gorging opportunities. So I plan to go big at this resupply stop and fall asleep dreaming of big burgers, cold beers, and hotel amenities.