COVID-19 Wk 16: Hiking Again

For the past several years I have set a goal to hike with Codi at least 100 miles a year. While riding my bike(s) is generally my main objective, Mia and I try to hike at least once a month if at all possible. We were off to a decent start in 2020 with almost 25 miles of hiking by mid March. Then COVID-19 showed up and well…..we all know what happened next.

Codi is super pumped to be hiking again
And he's off........

If you’ve been following along on these blog posts you may recall me asking back in mid-May if it was the calm before the storm. Well I hate to say I told you so (BUT….). Coronavirus cases are surging all across the west coast and U.S. in general. Oregon has been setting some daily records for new cases. I’m not going to get up on my soapbox and preach. All I am going to say is that the response to this pandemic in the USA starts with its leadership and we’ve done an absolutely pathetic job nationally with combating this virus and setting a tone. okay before I go off, I’m ending it there.

Love this place

Anyways, Mia and I wanted to get out hiking but also avoid the possibility of holiday weekend crowds. We both took Thursday off from work and headed up to the Indian Heaven Wilderness to hike. We absolutely love it up here. There are lakes galore, thousands of acres of wild huckleberry bushes and plenty of opportunity to avoid people if you want.

Mia filling out the wilderness permit

Codi and I did a quick overnight backpacking trip up here a few years ago. Mia, Codi and I have also done the Thomas and Blue lakes hike too. We stumbled across this lollipop shaped loop hike from the east side. This was appealing to both of us because the trailhead is not the quickest to get to and the road it is on dead ends at a washed out bridge. As a matter of fact we were only the second car in the parking lot when we arrived.

First water break (of many)

While we both anticipated some snow on the hike I do believe we were a little surprised at how much was still present. Granted we were on the north facing side so it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Goofball loves the snow
Alpine sliding

We only saw six other people over a 5 hour hike. The overcast sky and cool temps surely played a part in that. Being a Thursday probably helped too.

Fire damage on east crater trail
Misty at Junction Lake
The requisite hiking order (me, CB, Mia)

The hike starts off at 4100′ in elevation and at its highest is just a smidge over 5,000′. The link referenced above says the hike is 8.7 miles but both Mia and I got over 10 on our GPS watches. The total elevation per my watch was only a little over 1300′ and we both agree that there really isn’t any sustained steep sections. It’s really quite an enjoyable hike and while the distance may intimidate some the relative ease of the trail grades makes it quite doable.

Trail was quite wet and muddy in places

The melting snow, northern exposure and relative earliness of the year (by cascade standards) meant that there was a lot of water and mud in sections of the trail. You can tell how popular this area is by how worn in the trails are. We tried to avoid making the trails wider by hiking outside of the ruts but sometimes you had to decide between shin deep water or hiking wide to avoid it.

near Lemei Lake
Alpine meadows
Well worn trail
Codi enjoyed lots of swims on this hike

It was too early in the year for the huckleberry bushes to be ripe. We’re going to try and go up for another hike in early August and hopefully hit the jackpot. I’m advocating for a simple overnight backpacking trip if the mosquitoes aren’t overwhelming.

huckleberry bush
Stopped for lunch at Lemei Lake
My beautiful hiking partner

It was great to get out for another hike. It was long overdue and just what we all needed. The Washington Cascades are truly a special place. We love coming up here.

Tired doggy: goal accomplished
Mt. Adams on the way home

you can view all the pictures here

Lastly I will leave you with not one but two recipes. The first is a Robert Irvine potato salad recipe that I (of course) didn’t follow 100% but close enough.

Bacon & Egg Potato Salad

The second option is from Mia. It’s a blueberry/blackberry crumble. I don’t really have a recipe to link because Mia just “wung it”.

Berries from our C.S.A.
Dessert for tonight

Thanks for reading,


4 Comments Add yours

  1. adventurepdx says:

    Ah, Indian Heaven. This was the spot for my only backpacking trip, way back in Pre-History, now known as 2017.
    I went right before Labor Day, which seemed to be the right time: the notorious mosquitoes were gone, the huckleberries were everywhere! And a week later, it’d all be on fire. 😦

    1. Onrhodes says:

      It’s like a perfect combo of features up there. Mountains, lakes, meadows, free fruit…..

  2. stasia:) says:

    Hey, I’m (theoretically) sending a crew out for a week’s worth of trail work up at Lemei Lake this year! So I’m sure you didn’t intend this, but your pictures are excellent scouting photos for me! 😉

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