Destination: Big Lake Youth Camp
Miles: 11.5 (Plus 0.8 off trail miles)
Cumulative Miles: 1676
We planned to get out of Bend by 10, but the town demons held us longer...and by demons it is meant the allure of sleeping in and milling about slowly, free of mosquitoes. We left town closer to noon. Our faithful trail angel, Lloyd Gust (who picked us up yesterday), drove us back to the trail. He was even kind enough to drive us to the grocery store so we could buy a few resupply items.
Once back to the trail head, we helped Lloyd restock the water cache he maintains there. He also maintains one back at Windigo Pass. Then we hit the trail running, stopping after one-eighth of a mile to make a lunch. Then we really hit the trail, but not running. It was semi-slow movement, as the trail was very rocky. We were crossing a massive lava field near the Belknap Crater.
Before we walked on the moon, we believed the surface of the moon was much like the surface of lava fields we were walking across. NASA brought their astronauts to this area to have them try walking the surface in their space suits. The first paved trail, now serving the D. Wright Observatory, was built for the media to use while filming the Astronauts testing their gear in the field.
Crossing the barren lava fields, where only a few trees ever took hold, we met several day hikers exploring the desolate landscape. Once we passed the lava fields, the number of day hikers dropped to zero, and we had returned to our own more familiar people-less hiking. Yet the views were still magnificent as we approached Mt. Washington.
Washington had a pointy conical dome with a red scarf wrapped several hundred feet below the summit. We walked along it's foothills, passing a trail crew constructing a new trail. The existing trail was rutted heavily from overuse, and was causing a disruption in the natural flow of water. The crew was working to reset the hydrological state of the environment we were enjoying.
A few miles later we arrived at the trail junction to Big Lake Youth Camp, a Seventh Day Adventist Church Camp, which offers showers, laundry, and food service to thru-hikers. They provided us with soap, shampoo, and a giant fluffy towel. After setting up camp we hit the showers. We passed on the dinner (and breakfast) as we were carrying a surplus of food.
After the shower, we sat on the lake shore and watched the sun set beautifully while we finished our dinner. Then we retired to our tent. Back to big miles tomorrow.
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