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Camping Day 5: Lost in the Woods - Elf M. Sternberg
Camping Day 5: Lost in the Woods

Girls on Pacific Crest Trail
Today was our longest hike of the trip.

We made a breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs with cheese, and toast. The bacon grease made a spectacular fireball when it poured onto the grill, but nobody was hurt by it. Fun!

We geared up to take a day hike up to Cultus Lake, found on the eastern face of Mount Bird, along a trail called Indian Heaven. It seemed odd to me that the Cultus Creek Trail didn't go to Cultus Lake.

The trail was much easier than the Cultus Creek trail two days prior, and we ascended quickly up to the top of the ridge. It was the same elevation, but a longer hike, about four miles. My feet, in clean dry socks, were immediately soaked through by my shoes, still-wet from the ice-caves. I wore them anyway; the ankle supports had already saved me multiple times. We left the girls' shoes in an open meadow across from our campsite, and they wore sports sandals instead on the trail up.

Cultus Lake
The hike was fun and there was snow again. We reached Cultus Lake and decided to detour to Deep Lake, nearby. The girls and I sat and had lunch in a small glade next to Deep Lake while Omaha walked as far around Deep Lake as she possibly could, but that wasn't all the way around. The lunch was a mix of everything we had left, some PB&J, some chicken salad, some roast beast. After those lakes, we pushed on to Clear Lake, at the end of which we reached the Pacific Crest Trail.

According to two hikers we'd met on the trail, the Pacific Crest Trail was mostly flat, easy up-and-down all the way to the Cultus Creek Trailhead, and from there we could descend the same trails we'd done two days prior-- which meant the girls could enjoy the same snowfields they'd played in two days prior. With that, we impulsively decided to give it a shot.

The walk was fairly smooth, with lots of snowfields on either side of the trail but only a little bit on the trail. We reached the Cultus Creek trail and again decided to do something on impulse-- find Wood Lake. Instead, after slogging through wet snow for over a mile, we were lost. We never found the lake, we have no idea how far off the trail we were, as it was buried under two to three feet of snow, and we were lost in the woods. We followed our own foot trails back, since the GPS decided that it was too mountainous to find satellites anymore, and got to the trail marker for Cultus Creek Trail.

Lost in the woods
We descended back to the campsite. Many of the snowpacks we'd seen two days prior had receeded by up to half. It became clear to us why we had been warned about mosquitos: when the snow melts it leaves thousands of perfect breeding ponds. But we were lucky-- it hadn't melted yet. Three days after this day, this place was going to be murder-- and we would be gone.

Dinner was a calico beef & bean mix. And after hiking 12 miles, 24892 steps, or the equivalent of 187 flights of stairs (so says the pedometer), it was delicious. We tried to make kettle corn using bacon grease, but it didn't work-- the fire wasn't hot enough and slow roasted the corn rather than steaming and popping it.

I figured out the best way to program the GPS is to use the "approximate location," tell it "Oregon" in this case, and once it's found you with the list of satellites it knows it can see in Oregon, tell it to use your current location.

We went to bed immediately. We were all too tired to play any games.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: OSI, Invisible Men

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