Daily mileage: 26
Quick flat miles to Panther Creek for a nice breakfast and then it was back to climbing. But what a lovely climb. Just a little bit of a breeze and this calm quiet forest all around. Definitely felt like another world. The only disappointing thing, tons of huckleberry bushes but no ripe ones. The trail even passes huckleberry mountain, and all you would get is one berry every few bushes if you were lucky. And then as the trail started to descend the berries started appearing again, guess its going to be another slow day.
After some more rolling trail it was back to berry picking. As I was heading down towards the next water I started to smell campfire smoke. That seemed strange at 11 in the morning but then I rounded a corner to find a campsite full of section hikers, beaver chief and cheese whiz. Turns out Beaver Chief had collected a ton of berries and was making a crisp in the campfire, well that's worth taking a break for. What a good time, and after the amazing crisp we went and collected more berries and made pancakes. I have not been this full in what feels like forever, and I managed to yogi a few extra meals from the section hikers which makes me feel a lot better about my food this section. I have been insanely hungry and was feeling short on food.
A few hours later we actually managed to start hiking. We didn't make it far though, an amazing blueberry bush just couldn't be ignored.
Decided if we collected enough berries and found another fire ring then we could have another crisp with dinner. So with 4 bottles of berries and a plan we finally left and actually walked farther than 200 ft. Although it wasn't too long before we stopped yet again. Through a hot dusty section and we were at some kind of road and campground thing. Another break somehow happened, today was just a day for breaks. And then it was back to forested climbing. Along with what were called lakes on the map but seriously Washington those are ponds, stop teasing me.
Having a long afternoon and looking to liven it up? Swagger down a field pretending you are a rap star. Or any other ridiculously famous person. This is important as the walk requires swagger for full effect. Or if you feel like being a super villain that works too, if you've seen the new batman movie grasp your lapels (sternum straps), puff your chest and head down the trail. Oh and sunglasses are a must. I assure you it will help the miles fly, even if all it does is make you laugh. Last bit of climbing, more huckleberries and somehow I made it to Blue Lake. Nice collection of hikers, a campfire and yet another crisp. What a day.
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