We are firmly stuck in the Diamond Lake vortex. But why not? There’s free camping, a semi-stocked store and pizza place within walking distance, our own personal his and her’s bathrooms with flushing toilets and heat, a water spigot, and a lakeshore 2 minutes away to go swimming from and watch sunsets. It’s rare to find such luxury. Plus, we had a few days to kill.
Mt. Bailey watches over the lake from the west, yet another 8,000+ foot Cascade volcano. When we both mutually decided that Theilson probably would be more scary than fun, we set our sites on Bailey. Plus, it was technically open to bikes, so we could ride as far as was fun, ditch the bikes, and hike the rest of the way.
We slept in, which was lovely because the sun had been up for two hours by the time I emerged from our little tent, and the air was beautifully warm.
I love warm camping. I love warm camping. I love warm camping.
We knew they served breakfast at the lodge on the other side of the lake, so we set out for the 3+ mile pedal through the campgrounds. The sheer amount of stuff that people bring camping amazes me. They guy who had a car cover took the cake, though the site that had 4 family-sized tents was close in the absurdity.
Breakfast was delicious simply because it contained eggs and wasn’t oatmeal.
Back at camp, we loaded shoes onto bikes and headed out on the bikepath that goes around the entire lake. Turning off the bikepath, we crossed our one road and got on the Silent Creek trail, which meandered up a, well, a fairly silent and amazingly clear creek.
Then onto the Mt. Bailey trail. While steep, it was well-built and we were able to crank out the altitude while still on bikes. Even after crossing the forest service road that we thought would be the end of pedaling, we were able to get another 500 vertical on bikes before things started to get techy.
“I’m done. I’m hiking.” I declared at first dab. The trail, up to that point, really had been that rideable. We lucked out at our stopping point, as the trail rapidly became non-ridable and steep. I was happy to be on feet.
We passed a crater that is usually filled with snow.
We gained the ridge overlooking the lake.
We traversed along a layered rock fin until the final leg to the summit.
We were able to hold off the fast-hiking, very serious seeming woman who we’d passed while pedaling and then had nearly caught us while we were transitioning. Competitive hiking, funny shit.
She left the top a few minutes before us and we had to put in a concerted running effort to get her back into sight just shy of the bikes.
Downhill running is fun.
We switched back into bike shoes and continued down.
The bike descent was *awesome*. Best one we’ve done this trip, hands down. Beautiful flow, perfect steepness, duffy. What an unexpected surprise.
It was a million degrees back at the lake, so stop one was a swim in the lake. Then Scott made good on losing a bet on whether we’d be able to see the waters of Crater Lake from the top and bought me a scoop of ice cream. We were no where near being able to see that sparkling blue. Reading. Stretching. Opening a can of beans without a can opener. Mac and cheese.
Tomorrow we move on. There are hot springs to soak in and trails to ride.