Serenaded by sweet owl hoots in predawn hours. Pure tones like a flute in open space amphitheater. The hooting goes on for over an hour then it stops and we get up.
What are all these evergreens called? Why does my phone not have a pdf of the "Trees of Washington"? Major gear error. Cedars? Are these hemlocks, with the hemlock-like needles and hemlock-like cones. Shouldn't someone with a trail name like "Hemlock" who sometimes pretends to be a botanist know a hemlock even if they are different than the eastern kind.
Swimming is another top priority. Deep Lake is the deepest aquamarine cradled by jagged peaks. Silent insects hover above the surface. I superman glide in so as not to stir up the log-covered bottom. Icy water prickles my skin and steels breath from my lungs. My body feels at one with this place.
Dripping down the trail, I tell Jan about my Leave No Trace swimming guilt. How there might be salts and sweat on my skin that pollute the lakes. How maybe I should quit swimming. I remember this idea that there should be LNT credits that can be traded. Like if I pick up trash or do trail maintenance that I could earn some points that I can trade in for a swim. Just then, there is an old glass beer bottle propped up on a log next to the trail. Even though it is 30 miles to the next trashcan, I know what I have to do.
|My new companion for the the next two nights.|
We descend to "Caution Dangerous Ford". And sigh with relief that the water is relatively low. Even so it's sketchy don't look down phew we made it.
|To the ford!|
Jan and I find a campsite in a protected grove of cedars.
|Jan sets up camp while I eat dinner under my tarp.|