Destination: Barlow Pass
Miles: 22.5 (plus 0.2 off trail miles)
Cumulative Miles: 1778
We planned on having a shorter day today (less than 25 miles), and so chose to sleep in a bit. We got up around 6:30 and didn't speed to break camp. The casualness of it all gave that sort of enjoyment of camping that is rarely seen in the regular "hurried" lifestyle of a thru-hiker. Thru-hiking is not for people who love camping. Thru-hiking is for people who love walking.
Nevertheless, we are still thru-hikers, and we can't "dally" long, so we were moving just before 8am. The day started with an easy descent down to Timothy Lake, an easy get away for "urbanites." While it is always a good thing for people to get out to nature, such public easily accessed retreat locations are disheartening. We have spent several splendid months in serene clean locations, as this place once was undoubtedly. Now the trails are littered (albeit sparsely) with signs of humans. Countless piles of used toilet paper, and even a dirty diaper, were strewn about. Wrappers from granola bars glinted a sad reflection of our standard lack of care for our natural environment. The closer we are to "civilization" the less "civilized" we seem.
It wasn't a bad experience, riddled with trash, but rather a sad experience with the occasional disruption to an otherwise enjoyable walk. Just past Timothy Lake we took a small detour to Little Crater Lake, an artesian spring 45 feet deep, and about as wide across. The crystal blue water was perfectly clear, and was so distinctly blue those who walked past were heard mumbling "how does it get SO blue?"
We took lunch at Little Crater Lake and then hiked eleven miles further through relatively viewless terrain. Apricots noted how disappointing it was to be walking through Mt. Hood National Forest and yet never seeing the mountain. Three miles before Wapanita Pass we were given one of our first clear views of "our homeside mountain."
Once down to Wapanita Pass we ate a dinner, as we were starving and low on energy. Five and a half miles later we arrived at our destination for the day, Barlow Pass. We knew we wouldn't be able to do laundry at Timberline Lodge, so we opted to hitch five miles down to Government Camp. Once we arrived, we found a laundromat where we did our laundry. We sat and ate a cheeseburger in the laundromat, commenting on the rather surreal nature of such an experience.
Afterwards, we tried to hitch back to the trail, but the sun had nearly set and we were unsuccessful. We walked back into Government Camp to try and find a hotel room (so we could shower), but the town was all booked up. We wandered to the edge of town and found a pseudo-hidden flat camp spot behind an abandoned building.
Tomorrow we will hitch back up to Barlow Pass and hike the final five miles to Timberline Lodge where we'll meet up with "DK", Psycho's old roommate.
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