July 30th, 2017. Spring Campsite to Blue Lake, 12.2 miles.
The night is very quiet and by the time the sunlight filters through the trees I’m ready to get up and move. It’s hard to find a spot to dig a hole here, everything is near water or on a slanty hill with short fallen trees. I choose a spot behind a little log on the slanty hill and hope I don’t fall over into my own crap…I’m a classy guy. Business taken care of and pop tarts in my hip belt we hike off into the mossy trees.
We cruise through the forest and finally hit some different terrain. The rocks here are volcanic and super interesting. We stop for a little morning snack break in a weird formation and the light pushing over the rocky hill through the mossy trees is just plain beautiful.
It’s hard to leave but we finally do, passing along the edge of this hella old lava flow. We weave in and out of the pumice rock and forest, finally hitting our big climb of the day up Huckleberry Hill. It promises great views of the surrounding volcanic mountains and the sky is perfectly clear today, so there’s a great prize for all this kickass climbing.
Soon we are out of our friendly shaded trees and working our way up hot, dusty switchbacks. We pass a few hikers shoved in a tiny slot of shade a few feet off the trail and exchange pleasantries. It’s a very short conversation since we want to keep moving up this hill, it will only get hotter from this point on. I finally round a bend on the West side of the “hill” (this shit is definitely more like a mountain!) and get the promised views with Sarah right behind me. We get glimpses of Mt Hood behind us, Mt Adams to the North, and the broken top of Mt Saint Helen’s to the West. It’s a sauna up here and I’m sweating a ton but we pause a few times to admire the views and take pictures. Worth it.
Finally it’s back into the trees and hallelujah shade! The trail gently rolls up and down through here but mostly on a downhill trend, hooray! We finally hit the anxiously awaited Indian Heaven Wilderness trail sign. It’s supposed to be very pretty through here and also filled with blood suckers… well here goes nothing.
It’s crazy how different all of the terrain is we have walked through today, the world is such a rad place! First volcanic rocks, then a climb up a “hill”, now we are in this damp ferny, mossy covered place. So cool! Well it’s cool for a while any way until the promised vampires show up, then it’s head net on and bug spray bath. I try not to get grumpy because it is pretty in here but these mosquito’s are CRAZY! They are all over us and we walk quickly trying to out run them. We get a little respite in a small open meadow with sunshine and a nice breeze. We eat snacks and agree that we are not stopping for any more breaks until we get to Blue Lake because of the bug terribleness.
The rest of the hike to camp is a blur and I take one picture in this whole section of a cute pond. I also kinda hate this pond because it is the birthing place of the worst creature in the world. Why mosquito’s, why?!?
Blue Lake finally shows itself through the trees and we find a nice breezy campsite up a hill. Things seem better up here and the lake is beautiful. The wind is heaven and keeps the jerks sorta at bay. I set up the tent and the breeze dies down… shit. Literally a swarm has arrived and I dive into the tent, killing any jerks that follow me in. Sarah is braver than me, filtering water and staying outside of the bug net safety. The hundreds of jerks are just waiting outside the tent mesh for me and I am DONE with that noise.
Sarah is nice and brings me water, does some chores around camp, while I hide like a little baby in the tent. The breeze comes back for a bit and I run out of the tent to get a few pictures of gorgeous Blue Lake.
Two other lone hikers show up and set up their tents quickly. One guy is walking in circles eating his dinner when I come back up the hill, I say a quick hello and go right back into our tent. Sarah joins me in the safe place and we eat our dinner squished in across from each other.
We do not come out the rest of the day. I also drink a lot less water than I should because I do not want to risk my ass to pee. I have clearly chosen my priorities and would rather be a bit dehydrated than deal. We lounge around in the tent taking terrible selfies together and looking at our trip pictures to pass the time until it’s dark enough to fall asleep. We set the alarm for 5:30 am in the hopes that we can get away before the awful winged devils wake up. I’m not very hopeful though as I turn over and see them kicking it against the tent mesh. It is what it is and I fall asleep to a gentle buzzing.