Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Comedy of Circumstances (and errors), Day 3

July 19th - Betty Lake to, well, Betty Lake trailhead the hard way. - 3 miles (5 for Ladybug)

Preface: Look, I am sure you are sick and tired of hearing about mosquitoes, so let me just finish up our "getting bit" experience by saying we received several more over the next day and a half and to let the reader know that it is indeed possible to get nailed right in the sunshine of a hundred degree day. Once again getting ahead of my self, I will also mention that a worker at the Odell Lake Resort said this was the worst year she's seen in 15 years. Okay, back to our story...

So we both put on rain gear, slapped the packs on and we were on the trail at 6am.
The Forest Service sign that said the next trail junction was 1 1/4 miles away was about 3/4 short of the true mark. We were beginning to think we had missed something when we finally came upon it. Since heading to Waldo Lake was off our course, we were at the mercy of the signs at this point. We had a choice between going to South Waldo Shelter 1.5 miles away and a spur road 0.5 miles away. We weighed the relative merits of each idea and decided the road was the best bet since we didn't know for sure whether Waldo Lake had a phone among its amenities. Along the way, several little "pisswater" lakes and swamps reminded us that the you-know-whos were ever present.

I was moving along slowly favoring my right leg and trying not to stop too often. We reached the Forest Service road fairly quickly. As we approached the road, signs of horse and mountain bike use were more evident along the trail. I was hoping that this meant we were getting close. An examination of the trail on the far side of the road showed that North Waldo Lake was 5 1/2 miles away. I knew my leg wouldn't handle that. A sign at the road showed we were at milepost 1. That meant we were one mile away from something. We decided that Ladybug would check out the left direction for a mile and come back with a report. If any cars came by, I would stick my thumb out and see what happened. Ladybug came back before any cars came.

Rain gear and hiking: An internal sauna
After 2 miles of hiking in our special shields (we were almost out of DEET already after many applications), we noticed a strange phenomenon. We were boiling in our own juices. When we reached that road, we ripped off our jackets to find our shirts to be so sweat-soaked that they could be rung out. Later, the same effect rendered Ladybug's pants soaked (I was in shorts and did not suffer as badly). In any case, while rain gear is a good shield for sedentary moments, using it while moving is not worth the extra protection.

It appeared that the road ended in a Forest Service Campground called Sunset Cove which appeared to be a do-it-yourself boat ramp and campsite. No phone there. I think we knew why (buzz-buzz). While we were trying to figure out what to do, a white van came up from the campsite. We flagged them down and told them we were off-map, described my knee problem and that we looking for a place with a phone. They weren't sure whether there was a phone at North Waldo, so we asked for a ride there anyway. They took us as far as the main Waldo Lake road junction (which we crossed earlier on the way to Betty Lake). I got the feeling they were annoyed with us but a ride is a ride and we appreciated it. We decided that we would start walking towards Highway 58 and hoped someone would drive by. My knee had a slightly easier time on the consistent road surface but it was still sore and crunchy.

We passed Milepost 6 (only six miles to freedom! on a bad knee! no way!) and eventually made our way back to the trail junction that was a quarter mile from where we started that morning at Betty Lake. Well, THAT was a waste of time, but at least we learned that the Road was the ticket out and not getting to Waldo Lake itself. I told Ladybug that my knee would not take 5 more miles of hiking, so we decided to try hitchhiking.

I should mention quickly that we both had cell phones, but they were useless the entire time we were hiking being always out of range.

We waited for 15 minutes or so before we heard the first vehicle coming towards us heading southbound to Highway 58. It was an old white Nissan pickup and we stuck our thumb. They stopped and we had our ride on the first try. Hot dog! The two guys who picked us up were headed to Crescent Lake, so we asked if they would drop us off at Odell Lake Lodge on the way. They helped us throw our packs into the back of the truck and we were on the way.

The pickup was an 80s model with a rusty tailgate which was festooned with stickers that ran the spectrum of philosophy and sentiment. The one which gave us reason to believe we wouldn't be killed or robbed was the Oregon Country Fair sticker. Sure enough, one of the guys worked there so Hippy Power and the spirit of more cooperative times were flowing through our veins.

We sat in the back of the pickup as it whizzed towards Highway 58, then towards the lodge. The day had been warming up and it felt good to feel the wind blow over our heads as we headed towards a better destination.

They dropped us off at Odell Lodge and refused any payment. Ladybug secured a room for the night while I figured out how to jump out of a pickup with a bad knee. We made calls to get an earlier ride home from a different place, then we headed upstairs to take a shower. We had lunch in the lodge restaurant and slept most of the afternoon away. Dinner was nice with huge portions I could not make my way through. We enjoyed looking at the red flowers of wild columbines growing in front of the lodge (along with ornamental columbines). The wind was strong off the lake, so we had none of the worries of the day before. I got a bag of ice from the kitchen and spent time icing down my knee periodically until the ice had all melted. We were in bed soon after for a so-so night's sleep. It was also interesting to try to pick out the path up to the Rosary Lakes from our vantage point below. Here is our attempt to find the trail and the sites from a distance...


Pandabonium said...

"Sore and crunchy" is not the way I ever want to have to describe either of my knees. Hope it heals well.

I'll have to have K read this. She complains about the one or two mosquito bites we've each had over the last month during rainy season.

Forget the space suits. I have an old can of DDT in the garage....(sorry Rachel Carson).

ladybug said...

I cannot tell you the euphoric feeling I had once we were flying down the road in that old beat up truck.

Once we got to Odell Lake and unloaded, the guy w/the beard told a story of trying to take a dump in the woods once. He dug a hole, and since the fuggers had already started swarming, he ran 3 times around the hole, pulled down his pants and tried to crap as fast as possible. A fugger bit him on the eyelid, flew into his mouth and several other "places". He determined that was the last time he'd spend the night in a place w/out a toilet.

Thank you Charles from the Recycling Crew (at OCF), Thanks Bearded Guy!

The Moody Minstrel said...

I guess I don't feel quite so green now.

Dang...what a nightmare! I hope I didn't accidentally curse you with all my jealous vibes! If I did, I am really, terribly sorry.

DewKid said...

Damn, that sucks!! I HATES fuggers too. I wonder if that level of insect life was normal, or something new because of the changing climate?

You know, my dad has a couple of these things that look like tennis rackets, except that the strings are electrified wires. Fire those babies up, and a quick pass through the air is all you need to zap half a dozen bugs. I doubt they would have dented the bug population feeding on your blood, but they might have come in handy once you were in your tent...

There's a saying that goes around mosquito town: Where there's DEET, there's MEAT!! (sorry, bad joke)

Speaking of unpleasant times, it hit 121 degrees here in Temecula yesterday (Saturday), and then it rained (thunderstorms). I'm not sure I've ever experienced heat like that in my life! After the thunderstorm passed, it cooled to 89 within an hour!! Talk about weird!

Don Snabulus said...

PB, I get my crunchy knees checked by the doctor today. Hopefully it is nothing serious.

MM, don't worry. Your good natured jibes had no effect on our journey. ;)

DK, 121? Dang! I hope it wasn't too humid after the thunderstorm. We've alternated the last few days between mid-100s temps and mid-90s humidity. Yukola! It was 108 in Hillsboro Friday. I've never felt it that hot before. Bleeah.

Seymour said...

We went rafting on the Clackamas yesterday, from McIver to Barton. It was probably 100+degrees and it was glorious! Whenever you overheated, just plop into the water and you'd be good to go for another hour or so. We brought plenty of sunscreen and hats and no alcohol and the breeze coming up the river kept most of the bugs away. Best rafting trip ever! Although, seeing some of the shades of red from other rafts, a few people had restless nights.

DewKid said...

Man, I wish I could have joined you, Seymour. I used to love rafting on that river. (sigh)

Seymour said...

Well DK, when you guys come back up here we can see what we can dew! Maybe when Megan's a bit older, although we saw some "parents" taking their 2 year-old in a pool toy! The was messed up! At least the kid had a life-jacket on, and had sense enough to be bawling her head off.

ladybug said...

What?! Taking a two year old on a raft trip hitched to the boat in a POOL TOY?!

There were two adults killed not too long ago (w/experienced guides no less) in the Gorge, on the White Salmon I think. One guy was 50-ish, and a veteran of many trips, one guy was younger.

I wouldn't be surprizzed if hey just strap the kid to the back of their over-sized, over-priced SUV and take off.....