Mile 2177 to mile 2203
I think I must have even woken up hungry. We were slow to rise and not on the trail until 8:00, flying through the first two miles on flat, smooth trail, again in thick, green forest. I found myself head down, paying less attention as I walked with fewer sights to grab my attention and fewer rocks, roots and invisible gremlins tripping me as I walked. Very easy miles but not the most interesting. Just two miles in, the trail hit a large creek with a footbridge and a side trail about quarter mile to a developed campground. Developed campground means toilet or outhouse, and, since walking that quarter mile was easier than digging a cat-hole, I took the side trail and found the cleanest outhouse I may have ever used. Two air fresheners, a fly-strip and spotless throughout. I came back to the river, relaxed a few minutes and began the first of two climbs for the day.
The first climb was the longer of the two and came in three parts. Overall, it was just over 3,000 ft. The weather was warm but not hot and the trail remained in the trees, in the shade. Regardless, it was a tough climb for me and two short level sections, almost evenly spaced up the climb, only made the climb harder as I became fooled hoping each was the top. My hunger began to gnaw at me up this climb, a deep hunger like none I had yet had on this hike. I finally reached the top and ripped into my food-bag. I still had a couple miles to water but I first needed to feed my face a little.
A couple miles later I hit the spring and found a good number of hikers sprawled around. The guys were there and I joined them to eat some more and get water. I had carried what I figured was enough to get to White Pass, four more days away, though it was clear now that I wouldn’t have nearly enough and so I decided to head into Trout Lake in a couple of days. This will cost me a day but once I made the decision I was free to eat to my heart’s content and so I made a serious dent in my supplies.
In the afternoon was another climb, this one about 1,500 ft. I worked my way up, over the top and gently down the other side a couple of miles until I came to Blue Lake just before dark. I was directed by other hikers to the top of a small hill where I found the guys along with Baby and her dog Luna. We had a quick dinner in the dark and I cowboy camped in a perfect flat spot high enough above the lake to avoid the overnight mist.