Friday, October 16, 2020

Day 59: The Baker Lake Stroll

August 7: It rained a bit during the night, but I had known that was a possibility and rode it out from under the safety of my tarp.

But I slept in surprisingly late, not waking up until 7:00am. I had been tempted to take another soak in the hot spring. I didn't hear any activity from it with the partiers from the evening before long since having gone to sleep. They'll probably be sleeping in for several more hours given how late they were up. But given how late I woke up, I decided to forgo it.

Baker Hot Spring was a lot quieter and nicer in the morning.

Instead, I ate breakfast and packed up to hit the trail. I swung by the hot spring to get photos of it in the light of day rather than the blurry photo I took late the evening before. Only one of the Russians was soaking in it at the time, an older woman who had been there the night before but seemed oddly out of place among all the other younger Russians that had been partying. We chatted for about 10 minutes, and it was a nice conversation. The kind I would have enjoyed last night, in fact.

Then I waved goodbye and hit the trail. By this point, it was already 8:30am. 'Twas a very late start for me! I must have been more worn out from yesterday than I realized.

Today's hike was a positive cake walk. The trail followed what appeared to be an old forest service road, well-maintained and largely flat, before emerging onto an actual forest service road to Baker Lake.

At this point, it was a long road walk--probably close to 10 miles--alongside Baker Lake. The road was mostly gravel but quite busy and although several paid campgrounds were nearby and nearly deserted, the free lake-side camps were packed full with hoards of people.

The views were nice and the route was easy, but I found the traffic a major annoyance.

If Baker Lake didn't exist, the PNT would probably cut right through the middle of it to the other side, but it did exist so the route went around, swinging around the east end of the lake before resuming its westward march.

Baker Lake

The gravel road ended at a large parking lot near the east end of the lake, where I was able to throw out my trash and use the pit toilets.

Then I finally escaped the road walk to find myself on the Baker River Trail. The trail crossed the Baker River over a large suspension bridge, and once again I found myself disappointed that the bridge was solid and didn't move much. I liked the bouncy suspension bridge designs more. =)

As I moved further away from the trailhead, the number of people thinned out and I started enjoying the hike more.

I finally arrived at Noisy Creek Camp where I stopped for the day. I could hear children shouting and a dog barking at the far end of the camp so I set up at an empty location near the entrance.

Next door, a woman who appeared to be camped by herself said that I was welcome to use the bear box in her campsite if I wanted to. I think the bear box was meant to be available for everyone who camped in the area, but it was located in her campsite and it would have otherwise seemed intrusive to walk into it to access the box. I was happy to use the bear box, though, if for no other reason than to protect my food against rodents from getting into it.

We ended up spending much of the evening chatting with each other--the quiet kind of evening I had wanted the night before, in fact. Her name was Valora--or at least that's what it sounded like. It was a name I had never heard of before and I didn't ask how she spelled it. Her job teaching dance, if I remember correctly, was on hold because of Covid-19, so she was spending much of the summer traveling. Her boyfriend was from the Bellingham area so they were visiting the Pacific Northwest for a month or so, although he was busy for a few days so she decided to backpack during that time on her own.

When it started getting dark, though, she retired to her tent and I retired to my tarp. Overall, it was a pretty nice day with my main complaint being the busy traffic on the gravel road along Baker Lake.

The morning was wet from the rain during the night.

This seemed like such a weird place to cut the tree, don't you think? I'd have expected they cut the tree further back so it didn't stick out over the trail. Or maybe not cut it at all since it was so high and easy to walk under. It's like they cut it for no good reason at all, though. It didn't "clear" the trail, but it wasn't really in the way to begin with either, so why bother?

The paid campsites appeared to be largely deserted as far as I could tell.

Swift Creek--I forded this river just yesterday! (Today, I crossed it again, but this time it was over a bridge.) It's an interesting thought to think that if the current had swept me away and drowned me, that my body would have passed by here and ended up in Baker Lake.

Baker Lake

Most of the day's walk looked like this: in the trees along a gravel road along the shore of Baker Lake.

I took a lunch break next to this creek.

Baker River

The Baker River trailhead was packed with vehicles!

Baker River Bridge

View of the Baker River from on top of the bridge that spans it.


KuKu said...

Let's not talk about you being swept away to your death, shall we?

I know, since you're posting, that you made it home safely.

However, I'm sure I'm not the only one that worries about you when you hike, even though it always seems like, of course you will survive. You're Ryan, the Super Hiker!

Ryan said...

Bad things can happen to good people! There's always a risk with everything we do, and my backpacking is no different. =)

But that said, I hope to avoid that sort of fate!