Awoke before sunrise and Fireman was already up and ready to go. We visited a minute before he departed, and I left about 15 minutes behind him after calling out “good-bye” to Ron and Cindy’s tent.
About 1.5 miles up the trail he had stopped to have breakfast and I caught up with him. We hiked on together up to DumbBell Lake where we met a group of trail crew just packing up – it was the same trail crew Ron and Cindy had worked with. The group is comprised of quite young and retired folks – most are volunteers but some work for the Forest Service. We all stood around and visited awhile, and then they departed to the south. I ate my regular breakfast there of cereal and dried banana chips and shot a
bunch of photos – beautiful lake! The lake is shaped like a dumbbell, with a prominent peninsula in the middle reaching almost to the opposite shore. Clear water, but no fish, according to the trail crew. These lakes are no longer stocked, as they used to be in the olden days. There are other lakes on side trails that are up higher and do have fish, according to some of the other hiking groups I’ve met. But not DumbBell Lake or many of the others along the PCT.
A little later in the day Fireman and I were crossing a meadow just a couple miles south of arriving at Elk Lake Resort, and we met “TwoDog” who is a biologist at Yosemite National Park. She had her two dogs with her. We stood and talked about 20 minutes – she is a most amazing person packing a fairly heavy pack in order to alleviate the strained feet one of her dogs experienced while chasing a deer across the lava fields. She worked for 20 years in Alaska as a biologist and now is working at Yosemite! What an amazing life!
Fireman and I were starting to slow down in the afternoon heat which was
blazing down like a blow torch, and after tramping through exposed burn areas we finally arrived at Elk Lake Resort. There were two young men, Kurt and “FlyBy”, who were being Trail Angels – upon our arriving at the outdoor seating area with the picnic tables and bales of hay, they immediately greeted us and offered free food, beer, and small camping gear! I couldn’t believe it! Then Cindy and Ed and their little dog Pickles walked up and I was totally blown away! Cindy and Ed had rejoined the trail, hiking north to south,
and were doing only 8 mile days to allow Pickles to stay comfortable with the journey. The last time I’d seen them was the morning I’d left Crater Lake and Cindy’s mom was driving down from Portland to get them due to Pickles having become a bit lame and sore-footed from all the hiking. Now here they were again! So great to see them! So I popped a beer and decided to stay the night – they offered both Fireman and me to pitch our tents at their campground that night. We all sat around eating and drinking in the mid-afternoon heat,
shifting locations on the straw now and again to move back into the shade as the sun shifted across the sky. It was so pleasurable, and the resort is so beautiful. People were eating the most delicious ice cream cones I’d ever seen! Porch seating around the resort had dining tables overlooking the lake and marina. People were out paddling the stand up boards, sailing on small sailboats and catamarans, and swimming. Other people were sunning and reading and visiting. It was the most wonderful way to spend that
hot afternoon! And we even had a fresh pineapple to cut up and devour! Life couldn’t be any sweeter!
Kurt and Flyby both work at Next Adventure, a sporting goods store in Portland, and they told us about the upcoming Trail Fest being held at the Cascade Locks on August 27, 28 and 29. Their store will have a tent, as will many other vendors, and there will be lots of food and libations and music, apparently. It sounds like a lot of fun, plus a chance to see some interesting
lightweight new gear – they both demo’d to us their amazing lightweight hiking poles they were using that aren’t even on the market yet. Finally, in the deep heat of the afternoon, they packed up the rest of the food and beer and were off to head north for about 15 miles and hand out Trail Angel supplies as they hiked. Amazing!
I went for another swim, checked out all the sailboats at the marina, walked my pack over to the campsite, visited there awhile, then back to the resort deck where several of us ordered dinner – YUM! – and then back to camp to hit the hay. What a day! Utterly gorgeous and fun! And a much needed rest from the regular all-day-hiking regimen to one of simply enjoying a fine summer day.