Lava Rocks, Freye Lake, and Christi’s Spring
Beginning Elevation = 5,300
Ending Elevation = 6,300
Elevation Range = 4,950 – 6,300
Weather: Sunny, low 80’s
Last night, prior to us each going into our tents, Snickers and I did a brief planning session for the next day. For two reasons, we believed we might be separated during our hike. First, he typically gets up and starts hiking earlier than I do, and second, he planned to head into the town of Fish Lake to pick up his resupply package. The town is a 2 mile walk off the PCT. Our plan was this: if I caught up to Snickers before the turnoff for town, I’d join him in his quest for food. If not, I’d keep hiking and would stop at Christi’s Spring about 21.6 miles away. The hope would be he’d still make it there by the end of the day. If he didn’t end up making it, we’d find each other the next day. Boom. Plan set.
So, I set off from camp at 6:15am going solo. I felt good and the slope of the trail was quite nice. I was making good time. At first, I remained in Treebeard’s forests with lush bushes as groundcover.
But, after a few miles, somewhat out of the blue and unexpected to me, I came across some jagged volcanic rocks. I suspected they were the remnants of thick, viscous aa aa (pronounced ah-ah) lava flows, thus basalt in composition. I thought it was pretty neat and took lots of pictures. I’m likely wrong about my interpretation, but I remembered back to my Geology 101 days at Calvin College. My Professor was explaining the different types of lava and made a joke about how you can remember Aa Aa… something about a guy running across it would be yelling “Ah ah!” from the sharp jaggedness on the feets. I thought it was great, my fellow classmates maybe not so much. I always loved the geology professors humor though!
One thing I thought was interesting too was that there were reddish colored rocks covering the trail.
They looked Volcanic in nature too, but I believed them to be brought in from trail maintenance folks and added to create a flat trail. Without, we’d be having to cross on the loose jagged larger rocks. As the trail through the lava rocks continued, these red rocks became less pronounced and seemed to have eroded down with time and numerous hiker feet to a dirt material, an even better walking surface.
Still in my pre-breakfast hiking, I came around a turn and found this guy in my view!
I talked to some south bound hikers who told me they thought not was Mount McLoughlin. I’m a big fan of it and all these volcanoes! Nice and symmetrical. Plus, they’re volcanoes, which is just cool!
I sometimes show pictures of my neat breakfast, lunch and dinner spots. Often with beautiful overlooks. Today’s wasn’t all that super. It was still nice because it was flat, which is all I needed, but just thought I’d say they’re not always super duper.
I didn’t catch Snickers before the turnoff. I crossed over Highway 140 and took a break at a creek.
There were some other hikers there debating on going into town. I filled up some water and continued treking.
I saw quite a few hikers today. It seems to be getting more crowded on trail. For my lunch spot though, I found myself alone at Freye Lake. Likely I believe this was because it’s off trail a bit, like 0.25 miles off trail. It was nice though. Quite a serene and beautiful shallow lake. Mount McLoughlin was hanging in the background too!
After lunch, I bushwacked my way back to the PCT rather than go back the way I’d come. It worked out well. I then powered through more forest, now generally seeming to be without a groundcover other than dead branches.
I reached the spring we’d set as our meeting area around 5:00pm. There were several other hikers hanging here. I wasn’t sure if Snickers caught up sooner and want to keep going, so I just hung out and rested for a bit. After a while, Scott from Wisconsin came by and said he was going to set up for the night. I thought I would too thinking that if Snickers did show up, at this point, there was no way he’d want to keep going further.
I had and a nice time chatting with Scott as we set up and had dinner. We decided we’d write a note to Snickers and a guy named Dylan that he’d been hiking with saying that we were camped past the spring . When I went to go put the note out by the trail, I met a young hiker named Rowen who I invited to join for dinner. He did join us and I learned he’s a college student at University of Oregon. He’d also designed and made his own backpack for his section hike. Seemed like a pretty smart guy!
Snickers showed up as Scott and I were finishing dinner! We all hung out some before calling it night, avoiding the mosquito onslaught as best we could.