Saturday, August 11, 2018 – 18.50 miles
The weather turned 180 degrees today, becoming cold, cloudy and wet. In the morning I reached Crest Horse Camp, which contained no horses or evidence of horses, and cooked potatoes at one of the picnic tables. Across the road at the Indian Heaven Wilderness trailhead, a ranger was retrieving the permits from the permit box. I didn’t ask him anything useful at the time (I asked how the mosquitoes were, since I had heard from SOBO hikers that they were notorious in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, and I’ve been forever traumatized by former mosquito experiences) but upon meeting him again later I asked about the status of the Miriam Fire by White Pass (unknown) and what thimbleberries look like (none in vicinity). He did show me what huckleberries look like, since they’re thick around here.
Around noon, the rain began in short bursts. I put on my rain jacket and rain pants and passed a series of misty lakes. A mountain goat was climbing on the rocks on the opposite side of Blue Lake, too small to be visible except as a white speck. While I was unenthusiastically collecting water from a lake with less human activity, the rain started in earnest and I added my poncho to my other rain gear.
For a few hours after the start of the rain I saw no other hikers, which made me feel nostalgic for the days when I wasn’t getting passed by people every ten minutes. Ahhh, Burney in May! Later in the afternoon, when I was tired and wanted to make camp, the precipitation became annoying. That song from Annie infiltrated my head – the sun will come outtt tomorrow, you can bet your bottom dollar that tomorrowww there’ll be sun – and I had a revelation that ‘bottom’ means ‘last’ in this context, like the bottom dollar in a wallet. My god, it all makes sense now, several decades after the last time I heard the song! Interpreting Annie lyrics is the true purpose of clearing one’s mind with a long hike! By the way, I don’t believe that I’ve heard that song since childhood but I still remember the tune and a few sentences of lyrics. What an evil song.
Soon after I got below the clouds, the rain diminished and I found a spot to stealth camp in the forest. There’s a pristinely dry spot beneath the tree beside it, so I’ll have somewhere to sit if the rain starts again. I pitched my tent and as I was cooking dinner, I saw movement beneath a log about half a metre away. Mouse! Cute, but yeah. When I shifted, it ran away along the underside of the log and I saw it disappear into a hole about five metres from my tent… Hopefully if a mouse gets into my tent, it will at least be dry. I refuse to host wet mice in my tent.