Starting the day with a hike
The Badger Lake trail starts at Fourmile Lake C.G. The trail goes partway around Fourmile Lake and then it enters the Sky Lakes Wilderness.
The trail isn't steep. I passed three good sized ponds, and after about 4.5 miles, came to Badger Lake. I collected some fir and mountain hemlock seedlings. One young pine had the tenacity to grow right out of a crack in a boulder.
I saw a pair of partridges. They were feeding on the ground; they only ran a few feet and then stopped to watch me. Their camouflage is amazing. I saw no other hikers.
At Badger Lake, there was a nice spot to stop, sit on a log, rest, eat a protein bar, drink some water, and enjoy the view of the lake. There was only a very slight breeze. It was very quiet; the solitude was relaxing.
Life threatening event
But something happened that made me realize how short life could be if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As I started hiking beyond the lake, all of a sudden I heard two loud cracks – like rifle shots. Then immediately more cracking sounds, closer and closer together, and then a big crash and thump that shook the ground. I realized that a really big tree had just fallen, and it sounded like it was just about where I had been sitting a few minutes earlier. It was strange that that tree chose just that moment to fall – when there was no wind, on a clear and sunny day.
Less than a mile further on, I came to a junction with the PCT. (Pacific Crest Trail). I followed the PCT south for about 1.5 miles. As I sat on a log sipping some water, a backpacker came along. He was a tall and scraggly redhead. We talked a little. The poor guy had been holed up in his tent for days because of the bad weather. He was “just doing Oregon”, having started at the California border. Backpackers going long distances on the PCT are called “through hikers”.
Time to turn back?
Not knowing what the rest of the loop might be like, and already getting tired, I decided the prudent thing would be to turn back rather than trying to do the whole 14 mile loop. But even by turning back, I totaled about 13 miles.
Time for a surprise visit
Back at the campground and writing in my journal, I realized that this was the day that two of our daughters would be in Ashland for a play by the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. https://www.osfashland.org/
I had seen a turnoff on Rt.140 that said it was only 40 miles to Ashland by back roads, so I decided to leave the tent and trailer and run into Ashland for a surprise visit to Karen and Susanna. I would be getting back late, but the tent would be up and waiting on my return.
Quite a shortcut
Rt.140 goes to Medford, but there is a shortcut down a back road to Ashland. It goes through Rogue River NF, and then drops down a long, curvy, steep grade for miles before reaching Ashland.
Ashland streetcorner connection
I called Karen and found out where they were and we met on a street corner between the Shakespeare outdoor stage and the downtown movie theatre where they were about to go to a movie. We only had a few minutes together, but it was fun to see them.
While in town, I got gas, and bought some of those artificial trout lures. Then I ate supper at Wendy’s and headed back up into the mountains.
Coming: Day 6 – canoeing on Fourmile Lake, hiking to Squaw Lake, crossing the PCT