We got a ride back to where we had left the trail with Steve and Bobbi. They haven’t been giving too many rides this season, but seemed glad to see the forest road that we were going back to, as most hikers come to Trout Lake from a different place. They pointed out huckleberry bushes but confirmed our suspicions that we were too late for the berries this year. With the hot and dry weather everything has been early.
We arrived at Crest Horse Camp to find some hikers wanting a ride to town. Rather awkwardly, they invited Steve and Bobbi to join them by their campfire whilst they packed up camp. Awkward because Washington has been affected this year by the worst wildfires in history, and there is a state wide burn ban, meaning absolutely no camp fires even in established campgrounds.
In the Indian Heaven Wilderness we got views of Mount Adams which we’d so far only seen from the car. It was small and white in the distance, but the views made a nice change from the green tunnel which made up most of the morning.
As we passed by Lemei Lake, we heard a shout from a group of day hikers offering us fresh fruit! They had come up for a couple of days from Portland and were enjoying the sunshine on the banks of the lake. We headed back into the forest munching on apples.
Towards the end of the day, we got another glimpse of Mount Adams through the trees and I was amazed by how much closer it was. In fact we were pretty much standing at the base of the mountain this time.
We also met Hannah Solo for the first time even though we had met her parents all the way back at Carson Pass and couldn’t have been more than two or three miles behind her at that point. She was in camp with us along with Cinderfly and Kyle. They said that they were glad to be in Washington because they could now make a fire having been banned through Oregon. Ordinarily I’d leave rule breaking to personal choice, but the severity of the wildfires here makes me intervene and I had to tell them about the fire ban. They said that they were surprised given the three days of rain! Which has helped with the fires but isn’t nearly enough. The forest floor is dry as a bone just a couple of inches down. Terrifying thought. Thankfully they agreed in the end and didn’t make a fire. I was relieved both about that and about their ability not to take offence!
Camping: Mile 2232, Trout Lake Creek