8\11 was a down day for the most part. We spent the morning breaking camp and packing our backpacks for the next four days and four nights. We had to get packed, eat or throw away all our perishable food and clean out the cooler before going to meet our shuttle driver for transport to Cave Falls campground near the Bechler entrance. We were scheduled to meet our driver at 1:00 PM so we had plenty of time.
Once packed we drove to the DeLacy Creek trailhead where we would leave our car. Jerry showed up a bit early which was great as it was a long drive, about three hours. He dropped us off at the campground and left us there for the night. It was now official, we were stranded 45 miles from our car and no way back except to walk. The trip was on. We set up camp at a nice spot next to the Falls River and went to bed early.
In the morning we packed up all our gear and food. It made quite the pile as we sorted it on the picnic table.
We left camp and had to hike 1.5 miles down the road to where the trail began. Less than 200 yards into the hike, we spotted this fellow:
They call this section of the park Cascade Corner because of all the waterfalls. It’s a well deserved name as we were to find out over the next few days. The first was Cave Falls. It’s named that because there used to be a Cave behind the falls. Unfortunately is collapsed several years ago so you can no longer enter it.
Next we came to Bechler Falls just a couple miles later.
After hiking through the forest for a few more miles we came to Bechler Meadows, a huge wide open area. The dragonflies in this area were spectacular. There were literally thousands of them everywhere, all colors of the rainbow. Since they eat mosquitoes they were quite a welcome site and the meadows were largely free from them. This was a very nice break because the Bechler area is known for mosquitoes and this year was no exception. There were times when we were being chased by swarms of them through the forest and any time you stopped you were able to swat 10-15 of them in a matter of a minute or less. This was the worst mosquitoes I’ve ever experienced. Fortunately this day was the worst of the trip and they got better the higher we went upriver.
The meadow was a beautiful place however, and we even got to cross a suspension bridge that had me humming the Indian Jones theme as we crossed.
Nearing the end of the day we came to the first of three fords of the Bechler River on this trip. The other two would come tomorrow. This was about waist deep at the far end but was rather easy as the bend in the river caused the current to push us towards shore. After hiking through that hot meadow for the last couple of hours, the cool river felt great. A little note on our strategy for footwear is in order here. Many folks take an extra pair of shoes or sandals to use for river crossing but we didn’t want the extra weight in our packs. Instead, we choose to do the hike in runnning shoes which dry fast. When we reached the rivers, we took off our socks and removed the insoles. The shoes dried quickly that way and within a half hour of the crossing we had dry feet again. Here’s a picture of the ford. It was quite wide, but shallow until the very end and a gentle current.
After the ford, the trail follwed the Bechler River to camp. We took a few shots along the way.
We finally readhed camp in late afternoon. Today’s hike was a tough one, nearly 12 miles from the previous camp and carrying our heaviest loads of the trip, nearly 40 lbs. each. Were were very tired and went to bed early to both get some rest and some respite from the bugs.
Some toadstools and flowers around camp: