Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 114: Mt. McLaughlin Ridge to Seven Mile Trail Junction

Packing up, I saw no evidence of whatever animal had haunted us in the night. We plodded down the trail all morning, keeping up a good pace through more viewless, fir forest. Occasional thimbleberries, huckleberries, and flowers broke up the monotony somewhat.

Eventually we climbed onto the ridge and were rewarded with views, albeit smoky ones. Continuing to climb, we traversed around the base of Devil's Peak, a dark, rocky, volcanic outcropping. Beneath the peak, strange new flowers grew in the rocky shale. White, fluffy, and mop-like, the Pasqueflower seed pods reminded us of Dr. Suess's Whos or Jim Hensen's Muppets with wild hair.

Days are getting noticeably shorter, and the sun was already dropping behind the mountains when we reached the saddle between Devil's Peak and Lee's Peak. We passed two snow patches as we dropped into the mosquito infested valley below, but with no sun left to dry us off, we had to forego a snowball fight.

As we continued to descend we stepped over a dark salamander with yellow stripes, surprisingly far from water. Yellow legged frogs played in a small puddle by the next stream.

Reaching the final stream we tanked up on water before finding camp for the night. We would not reach another reliable water source until we reached the Mazama Village at Crater Lake, more than 20 miles away.

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