I didn’t spend enough time sleeping in the woods lately, so Codi and I took off for one last adventure before Mia returned from a trip back to NH. Codi has seen plenty of car camping, house rentals and a couple hotels since we got him two years ago. Until this point though he hadn’t yet walked into the woods to spend the night.
After a wet couple days the forecast was looking good for the holiday weekend. I wanted to get back up to the Indian Heaven Wilderness to check out the Indian Racetrack. I also wanted something fairly quick to access in case the weather turned or Codi was being a P.I.T.A. luckily neither of those situations happened.
We left town early in order to avoid any potential holiday traffic. Headed out to Cascade Locks and across the Bridge of the Gods to Stevenson and from there up to Carson, WA. The way up FR 65 is pretty narrow and twisty at times but is paved all the way to its intersection with FR 60. From that point, it is about 4 miles of gravel roads to a parking spot on the side of the road. I wasn’t sure if I needed to display the NW Forest Pass or not, so hung it up just in case.
There are literally thousands of wild huckleberry bushes in the area. On the left and right sides of the trail most of the way up to the racetrack the woods were thick with them. It appears I had missed the peak picking time by a week or two, but there was still plenty of berries to find in some locations. Codi and I ate probably a 1/2 pint between the two of us.
It only took us an hour to get to the lake from the car. There were a couple camping spots around the area, but I wasn’t ready to stop just yet. We explored the area a bit more, and hiked the 171A trail up to its intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail and then back down to the Indian Racetrack. I think 171A is probably not used a whole heck of a lot. It was along this short spur trail that we found the most huckleberries, so I assume a lot of people don’t use this section. Otherwise the berries would have been picked clean like most of the main trail.
So, the racetrack itself is not the most awe inspiring of physical features. It is however pretty cool in its purpose and for how long it has been here. Basically the Native Americans would harvest berries in the area and then also have horse races along this open field, wearing in the path that can still be seen today.
We headed back towards the lake and took the smaller of the two camping spots near the lake. It didn’t take that long to setup camp and by then it was only 1:30PM. We basically spent the rest of the day hanging out, walking around the racetrack and talking to other hikers, plus eating more berries.
I’d guess the temps were in the low 60’s/high 50’s for the afternoon. It rained out for a little bit so Codi and I hung out in the tent while I read. I will say I am quite fond of my Amazon Fire for times like this.
The rain didn’t last long (thank goodness) so Codi and I walked around some more and then had dinner. I had brought a Mountain House Sweet & Sour Pork meal with me and it was actually pretty darn good. Definitely one of the better freeze dried meals that I have ever had.
After sunset we were basically confined to the tent. Codi did a good job of sleeping while I continued to read. It was a cold night in the cascade range! The temps dropped down into the mid 30’s. My sleeping bag ( a NEMO Siren) did an excellent job, but I think Codi got chilly since he spooned right up to me at one point and was shoving his head into my shoulder and camp pillow. We did a good job of keeping each other comfortable, but far from warm. I’m going to have to research a small, light and compressible down throw or something similar that I can bring to toss over him on colder nights.
We didn’t dilly dally in the morning either. I broke camp while Codi did his best to interfere with packing things up. Then we headed down the trail and back to the car. Not the most epic of adventures, but it was fun and I got to see how well he would handle backpacking. We were back home by 9:45 where I took a nice hot shower and he took up residence on the couch
I’ll admit that it would have been much more fun to have Mia or another human or two along. Because it was a relatively short hike to the camping spot we had a lot of time to kill. I can talk to Codi a lot, but he doesn’t say much back. I was probably also just ready to have Mia back from NH since we hadn’t spent more than 2.5 days together since before I left on my San Juan Huts trip.
Anyways, thus ends a short adventure with my dog. We’ve got more hikes for the fall months and hopefully at least 2 more car camping trips before the blah weather moves in for the winter months.
Thanks for reading,