July 31st, 2017 – Blue Lake to Trail head/road JCT at the end of Indian Heaven Wilderness, 9.5 miles
My hopes/dreams that all mosquitoes of the world have disappeared overnight comes crashing down when I wake to the 5:30am alarm and they are just out there waiting for me. I pack up everything possible in the tent and we put on our pants and long sleeves, hoping that the bug spray we dosed them in yesterday will be somewhat effective. We are out of camp quickly, there is no lingering to enjoy coffee and breakfast in this breezeless morning, and say goodbye to the seemingly peaceful view of Blue Lake through the trees.
It’s my favorite time of day to hike, when the morning light is just cresting the hills and lighting up the world. It’s just so quiet and lovely, it’s hard to hold a grudge against the mosquitoes even. Plus it’s our last day on trail and I am determined to enjoy it. And I really do. We spend the morning walking through mossy forests and pass a few very pretty small lakes/ponds with nice campsites around them. It’s cold down in this meadow and lake area with frost on the grass but the mosquitoes are still here so we don’t linger very long in most places.
We do eventually get hungry and stop along one of the lakes in an empty campsite. While we are munching on some Bel vita crackers the two hikers who shared camp at Blue Lake with us last night pass. They both have their head nets on and are moving so quickly they don’t even see us right off the trail. I don’t blame them at all and as we are stopped for even this brief amount of time I’m getting eaten too. I put my head net back on, as the sun starts to peak in on us, and we get back on the trail.
Most of the day is spent weaving down long switch backs in dense forest. Every now and then we see Mt Adams to the North. The closer it looms before us the more our trip is coming to an end. It’s sad and wonderful all at the same time.
We also pass through a pretty area with boulders, wildflowers, and patches of lingering snow. We hop over a little creek shortly after and encounter a large group of South bound PCT hikers, they just went through Goat Rocks and are all shining with excitement at the journey ahead. I wonder what it feels like to be them? They are getting their trail legs and working through their first state on such a long journey, so awesome! I’m definitely jealous and also definitely ready for a break and a shower too. I also know I’ll miss the trail as soon as I’m rested for 24 hours, the bug bites fade, and I get to eat some town food with beer!
The trail eventually flattens out and we know we are getting close to the road and our car, which is hopefully still parked in a weird pullout near the trail head junction. We have a last little surprise of a HUGE toad sitting on the trail and it holds still long enough to oblige me a photo.
We pop out into berry bush town and I snap a last photo of Sarah and Mt Adams before we hit our car, which is very dusty but right where we left it.
We commence taking bucket baths with our left over water to get some of the dirt and bug spray off before we drive into Portland to hang out for a few days. We are both very quiet and all too soon we jump in the car and drive away. As usual I feel sad that we are done with this trip and reflect on all the days past.
This trip was tough for me (see my reflection post for reference) but as with most things when I think back on it, I loved it too. It was hard and painful and I went through some yucky feelings but in the end I LOVED it still. I loved the mountains, the trees, the lakes, and even the fucking mosquitoes (No that’s not true, I can’t love them. I’ll just try to settle for accepting them, that’s pretty good) I got to share all these moments and places with someone that I love. Who is kind, patient, puts up with my grumps, reminds me to eat or drink, keeps me laughing at myself or the situation, lets me cry without judgement, and loves all my weirdness the most. And last but not least I love that my body can take me to these places, this short, queer, trans body took me there and I am SO thankful for that. So how can you keep feeling bummed out about a tough trip when it gave you all of these gifts? You really can’t and that’s a fact.