March 30, 2021
The marina is a busy place at night, apparently. Lots of pickup trucks coming and going, and the glaring street lights in the nearby parking lot never turn off. There were also some RVers hollering back and forth across the parking lot to each other in the dead of night, so, that was fun. Our tents were literally pitched right there so there’s no way they didn’t see us over there trying to sleep. Oh well. Around 4:00am, I gave up on sleep and quietly started making coffee and getting my things around.
Ghosthiker and I left our tents while it was still dark and wandered across the expansive parking lot to the visitor’s center, which was closed but still had a few outside outlets and drinking fountains. The outlets in the shack had no charge left from all the hikers trying to charge their devices yesterday, and we knew we had a long, long way to go to the next town, so we wanted to make sure we were charged up. We also stocked up on water here, and I rinsed a few small articles of clothing I could hang off the back of my pack to dry while we hike.
Ghosthiker and I left Roosevelt Lake Marina around 6:30am. There were two trail options for us coming out of the marina: we could hike back up the steep, scree-filled bit of trail to the main trail, which we heard is also full of scree and very technically abhorrent, or we could walk the road and cross the big highway bridge to a trailhead that would take us a gentler way back to the trail. We unanimously decided to go with the latter, and I’m glad we did. It was a beautiful, early morning road walk with a great view of the lake and then a quick, steep climb to a long, winding bit of very clean, easy trail. It was very nice.
A note on Guthooks said there was water cached at the Mills Ridge Trailhead at mile 354.3, approx. 9 gallons for public use. The comment was from yesterday, so we felt fairly safe counting on at least some of it still being there today. We were very lucky. There was barely a gallon left when we got there at 8:00am. How could it have disappeared in a day? Who even drank it all?! All the hikers in our bubble are behind us and the Trio that hiked out yesterday couldn’t have taken two liters a piece from the cache right after being in town…could they? I hope not. That’d be pretty rude. Ghosthiker and I try to never count on a cache for a full water resupply, not on this trail. Even if it means we have to carry water up a steep climb. That’s what we signed up for, after all.
Since we got to the trailhead at 10:30 there wasn’t really any shade to be had, but luckily for us there was an SUV parked there so we sat in the shade of the car and hoped the owners won’t mind that we did. We each took only what we absolutely needed from the remaining gallon of water, which wasn’t much. Maybe half a liter each. We decided we could go longer without water if it meant other hikers wouldn’t have to go without.
After that initial climb, the trail continued up and up and up with sporadic level terrain in between, affording us a little respite every once in a while from climbing. The trail stayed mostly clean, which was wonderful and made it so much more pleasant to hike on, regardless of the climbs. We took another break after only 2.5 miles because the climb was exhausting, then we pressed on. We had clear views of the trail behind us for miles and kept looking back for signs of other hikers coming out of Roosevelt Lake, but we never saw anyone.
Throughout the course of the day my feet did really well in my new shoes, with the exception of a new blister on my right baby toe. It wasn’t painful until the last mile or so and will definitely be more manageable than these awful heel blisters. So far, my new shoes are doing well.
We entered the Four Peaks Wilderness today and so far this has been my favorite stretch of the trail. It’s clearly well-maintained and hiking around the peaks has given us some great views. We went up and over Adler Saddle, and then down into a burned area that was still pretty ashen and desolate, where we saw a lot of what I started referring to as “Pre-Fried Pineapples”.
We got to Shake Spring around 6:00pm but the tent sites looked pretty sketchy. They were slanted and there were a lot of dead trees around, so we collected water from the cool, clear stream and then backtracked a little ways to a place we’d passed that seemed nice and flat and sheltered. We also have a nice view of the peaks from here, so that’s cool.
We’re camping at about 5400’ elevation. We hiked about 20 miles today and we need to do that many every day from here to Pine if we want to get there at a reasonable hour on Sunday.