Way back in the ’80s before mountain biking really consumed me I was a mountaineer and back country telemarker. I moved to Spokane and the continental snow pack that didn’t corn up like the Cascades which shorted out my spring skiing. I still backpacked 1 week solo trips. I missed spending entire days in the back country. Mountain biking trails open for bikes gives us riders a glimpse of what is out there. We ride, pedal out to our rigs, maybe drink a beer, then head back to lots of people and pavement. I miss spending nights out and hiking where bikes can’t go and at a slower less attention demanding pace.
Hence a 4 mile out and back overnight at Sister Mirror Lake in 3 Sisters Wilderness. Monday I got my backpacking stuff together. I took over a grass patch in a shopping center parking lot setting up my tent, blowing up the air mattress, and cleaned and started the Whisperlite stove. Enough dried food things, some I forgot what they were went into my food bag. Yesterday morning I parked at almost empty small lot and got it on. Laced up above ankle hiking boots and slung my pack on my back. Two years ago I made this my first backpack trip of the shoulder recovery year. Took about 1 1/2 hours to hike to the lake basin. Trail is thru hemlocks blocking any views and most of the sun. Mosquitoes attacked in manageable numbers on my shorts and short sleeve covered body. As I drew closer to the lakes basin the numbers increased.
I pushed to camp spot on a bluff above the lake believing that being above would escape being a part of creating the next batch of suckers. Not so. I dropped my pack and dug out my rain parka and pants. My hands were full not able to even shoo the suckers away. The rain pants are too narrow to fit over boots meaning I had to sit down and unlace each boot, slip on the pants then relace. All the while being fodder. Covered except my face I walked around the lakes basin. I encountered 3 male thru hikers. One said that the snow in the Sierras nixed their thru route causing them to drop off and head north for less snow. One guy had a great head net. Back in ’15 a drought dried up the mosquito nurseries, this year, with bodacious snow cover, the beds were back nurturing a bountiful crop. I sought relief inside my tent. Dinner was a quick affair then back inside. My tent is essentially a mesh tent attached to a coated fabric material rain cover. Every time I zipped open a door to leave then zip shut after crawling out then reverse the process getting back in. A new population flew in. Once the screen door zipped shut I began shortening the lives of the insiders.
My sleeping bag is a Feathered Friends down comforter and I used it as such. Worked out OK. Didn’t sleep well. I started up about sunrise hoping that the chilly temp would keep them grounded. Way wrong. Seemed like there were even more. Breakfast was a hurry up affair. I packed up my dew wetted tent and the rest of the stuff just stuffed into the pack then headed out wearing rain gear. I walked thru frosted grasses on the lake shore and the snow patches were frozen solid. Yesterday hiking in 4 guys hiking out were dressed the same way. Just nasty. My back stiffened up like it did last year. What’s up with that? what exercise and / or stretch am I missing. Back at my van hardly a mosquito was seen or felt.
My original plan was to ride South fork today as I am already up high. I am curious to the growth phase of the ceanothus moths. But my back said no. I drove to MT Bachelor parking lot parking on pavement. I unpacked my stuff and dried everything in the bright sunshine and low humidity. Everything ready for another go. Sucking on 4G all bar speed.
Local knowledge says don’t wide Waldo Lake until at a minimum end of July. Prolly holds true for here also. Back in ’78 when I was hiking the PCT I passed thru here about August 13th and the start of the wet summer. Rain kept the count down.
Yesterday marked the start of the 10th year of my odyssey. Nine years doing what I want. No closer to a house build date.