Our trail guide says we are going to trace the south side of Silver Lake before starting our daily routine of ups and downs, picking our way around the rocks to search for the blue blazes and plenty of stops to enjoy the views and any breezes we can catch.
We’ve really lucked out as far as the weather – sunny and warm every day since the first. Even better, our campsites keep improving. They’ve all been on a lake, the first two pitched in the woods next to the shoreline, every other one perched on the rocks above a lake. We thought night 4’s was tremendous – I got up in the night and the stars spread out over the lake were like nothing you’d see in a city – but tonight’s is even better. The site has pine trees and rocks and gorgeous views of deep clear water. I’ll post pictures of rocks that are actually under several feet of water.
For those of you wondering about our actual camping facilities. Well, they’re pretty high-end from our point of view. All of the campsites have a stone fire pit where we could build a fire – although we don’t just because we’re either too tired or the weather’s too wet or too warm to enjoy it. They all have a flat-ish spot where we can set up our tent and sleep on minimal rocks and roots. Tonight’s actually has a sand pad bordered with logs for our tent.
Every campsite also has an open-air privy, which sounds awful until you realize you’re in the woods. The privy (I’ll post a picture of one with the lid open), looks like a wooden box with a hinged lid. When you open the lid, there’s another wooden top with a hole cut it in. It really makes life so much easier to have a place to sit, instead of squatting. And, because there are no walls, the smell is actually minimized. Each privy trail is marked with its own little white Male/Female sign and is located a few hundred feet from the rest of the camp. Since we know we’re the only people at this tent site, the privy really is private even though it’s open air. Actually, the first time I saw/used an open-air privy it was on the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier, where multiple groups camp at the same campsite and it could get a little awkward trying to figure out if there was someone using it or not. At least here, if I tell Walt I’m going to the privy, then I know I won’t be interrupted.
There’s one other important facet of camp life that we have to attend to every night: hanging our food so the bears don’t get it. We’re actually lucky that we don’t have to carry heavy bear bins. Instead, Walt strings up a line (the rules are at least 10 feet off the ground on a limb extending at least 3 feet out from the tree trunk) that we then hoist our stuff sacks with all of our food and trash, as well as our hand sanitizer, bug spray and sunscreen. The goal is to hang the bag(s) high enough that a bear can’t get it even standing on his legs and on a limb that’s weak enough so that even if he climbs the tree, he can’t get out on the limb to get it. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot, guessing if such-and-such a limb is really high enough or if the bags are far enough from the trunk. We were lucky on this trail in that while we weren’t always sure we had the best bear hang, all of our food made it through the whole trip.
I sort of figured with the huge George Lake campground that serves as the start and end point of the trail, any self-respecting bear will be hanging out near an area where there are lots of people with lots of food, not near our little camp.
Since we again arrive at camp early, we lay out our socks and boots to dry (there’s always sweat and mud to be dried off), have another freeze-dried dinner for lunch, a swim in the crystal water and a relaxing afternoon before calling it a day.