Friday, August 17, 2018

Day 20: The Day the World Stopped Turning

June 19: I woke up bright and early. It was 6:30 in the morning, with with a mere 10.5 miles to cover today, there was absolutely no rush. That was maybe four hours worth of hiking--five if the trail was particularly rough. At all. I lingered in camp reading my book and relaxing until 8:00 before I started going stir-crazy and hit the trail. When I left, Blueberry was still sleeping.

This is actually a shelter people ARE allowed to camp at! But to do so, you have to reserve it ahead of time and pay a fee, so we didn't camp here. That's a bear locker on the left.

So I decided to do a repeat of the previous day and take a few hour-long breaks along the way. The trail climbed to a wonderful overlook, then descended to the Cascade River following the river upstream for a couple of miles.

I took my first break at what appeared to be an illegal campsite next to the river and was there for about 20 minutes when Blueberry arrived. Considering that he had still been sleeping when I left camp, I was surprised he had caught up so quickly. I figured he'd have been at least an hour behind me.

He said he left camp quickly because two of the hikers there had gotten into an argument where one of them broke a tent pole and stormed off angrily while the other sat there and cried or something to that effect. "It got awkward, so I decided to leave. Quickly."

Can't say I was disappointed to miss all that drama! =)

The rest of the day was completely uneventful. The weather was beautiful, the bugs weren't bad, and life was good.

The view from Lookout Mountain was awesome!

Near the Bally Creek campsites, I ran into two girls, one of whom was wearing a shirt that said, "Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo" on it.

"Did you go to Cal Poly?!" I asked, surprised to see my old school in the backwoods of Minnesota.

And she had, so we reminiscence for a couple of minutes before parting ways again.

I arrived into the North Bally Creek campsite late in the afternoon where four others besides Blueberry had already set up camp including a three-generation family of a grandfather, dad and his daughter, plus a older man calling himself Two Shots hiking on his own.

Blueberry built a fire, and I think he about had a heart attack when the dad of the family threw water on his fire. WTF?! He had been washing his dishes after eating dinner and threw the rinse water into the fire--allegedly because he wanted to burn the small crumbs of food that had been in his bowl. It wasn't enough to put the fire out, but what the hell was wrong with him?

For those of you who don't know what they're doing in the backcountry, here's a piece of advice: Don't throw water in the campfire--unless it's at the end of the night when everyone is going to sleep and you want to put the fire out. Leave No Trace principles are great--I love it--but it doesn't mean you have throw a bucket of water in the campfire to burn a few crumbs of food.

This is what you do instead. Pick up a few dead leaves laying around anyhow and wipe out whatever goo, gunk and other food residue is in your pot using those, then throw those leaves in the fire. When all of the solid waste in your dishes are out, rinse it off with water.... and just dump the water out somewhere other than the campfire.

It's not rocket science.

The latrine by that shelter was very fancy--not only did it include toilet paper, but it even had two walls! Which is two more than every other latrine I saw on the trail. =)
Cascade River
There was a handmade sign calling this Chad Falls, after a kid who had died. But I'm not sure if the name is official or a campaign by Chad's friends and family to get an otherwise unnamed waterfall named after him. I kind of like the idea of creating some official-looking signs somewhere and getting people to call a location after me, though, and see how that works. =)

Blueberry jumps over the guardrail because, hey! That's where the SHT sign is pointing!

Blueberry tends to his campfire.

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