Start Upper Pine Lake

End Fish Lake Trail Head

Miles hiked 18.42, Elevation Gained 3,346′, Elevation Loss 4,222′

coming down from pine lake pass
The Punisher coming down from Pine Lake on our way to meet Ron at Cornucopia Lodge

We got up before first light and packed up and started down the trail to meet Ron at Cornucopia lodge where he was waiting for us to arrive.  The trails were stunning and right out of the Sierra with granite peaks around, lovely switchbacks.  The temperature was hot and even before the sun was up high in the sky, we were sweating even going downhill.  Eventually, the trail dropped and then took a turn into the forest, ad little ways down that trail and we spotted two hikers climbing towards us.  We stopped and chatted a bit and they said, “are you the 3 hikers trying to do the BMT?”  We told them, Yes’ and they went on to tell us how much they loved Mike and Donna who we would be meeting tonight.

We parted ways with our new friends and kept trucking along, eventually the trail gave way to an old roadbed, and we followed that out along a creek.  We emerged from the trail into a dirt parking re and spotted Ron in his van waiting for us.  He plied us with cold drinks and chips and then we decided to save ourselves some hassle and slack pack the rest of the day. 

An old decrypted bridge
Sure this looks safe? I opted to walk around and through the creek, but i considered risking it for a minute or two

We took off with plans to meet Ron in Halfway that evening, where we would all go to Mike and Donna Higgins’s place for dinner, and a stay-over.  We started by walking some dirt roads, the roads climbed but the grade was not too bad.  We came to a saddle and the entire road was covered in wolf prints in the dirt, so wild, and again we all said how much we hoped to see a wolf on this trip (the blue mountains hold the highest concentration of wolves in Oregon).  We kept up a decent road and that eventually gave way to an old road that was a little rougher. 

Point 6 socks and dirty feet
Airing out my feet during snack time and attending to a few hot spots before we continued on our climb.

We climbed and decided to take a quick break in the shade before pushing on.  We laid there under some trees munching away on dried mangos, jerky, and other snacks, then we strapped on our packs and carried on.  In a few 100 yards our trail disappeared, and we found ourselves having to route find up a steep slope under a hot sun.  the forest turned from trees to a very burned over area form a forest fire.  As we trudged along slowly, we hoped things would improve since we had a 4 pm pickup scheduled at Fish Lake.

The saddle before the bsuhwhack
FeMike and the Punisher atop the saddle surveying what was ahead, surprise it was burnt forest and blowdowns

We ascended the hill and stood atop a saddle looking at the burnt over valley below, luckily there was a cairn and trail so we started down it, yet as we got closer to the bottom the trail disappeared into a mess of blowdowns and burnt trees so we picked our ay trying to locate the trail.  Eventually, we came to the revisor, we were all out of water and thirsty, so we took a. Short water break.

A much needed water stop on a hot day, bonus there were tons of baby frogs there to keep us company

As the water filtered away, we snacked and did the math on how fast we needed to go to make it to Fish lake to meet Mike.  We loaded up the water into our packs, threw them on and started to jam out on a decent trail.  The trail was nice the rest of the way and we were able to make some good time, we finally joined an old dirt road and easily cruised to the parking lot where Mie was waiting for us.

Creek crossing and burned trees near Fish lake
FeMike works his way through the burn on our way to Fish lake

Mike was thrilled to see us, we chatted and introduced ourselves then he asked what we wanted to drink, cold beer or soda.  FeMike and I went for a beer each and The Punisher had a soda.  We munched a bunch of chips and chatted about the hike and the hot weather.  Finally, after a while, we loaded up in Mike’s truck for the hour-long ride to his place.  We bumped along the dirt road and Mike stopped to show us where we would be hiking the next day and a few alternates we may consider.  We finally arrived in the small charming town of Halfway, OR.  We saw Ron and had him follow us to Mike’s house. 

sleepy dog
Finn warmed up enough to feel comfortable napping by me while we poured over maps

Mike and his wife live on a wonderful piece of property with a small orchard and plenty of space.  Their two dog Scout and Finn were very curious about these smelly hikers who had entered their property, but after a few sniffs, we were all friends.  Donna is an amazing cook and we sat down to a homemade Indian style chicken curry with bread, it was delicious.  For dessert, we enjoyed homemade peach cobbler and then we headed up to our private part of the house where we bathed and did laundry before passing out for the night.

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