No campsites have appeared so now we’re targeting Cayuse Creek where we enjoyed camping eight years ago. I pass a turn that goes the right direction off a saddle but it looks nothing like I remember so I continue on. After a hundred yards, I realize that must have been it. I can see Cayuse Lake below.
The saddle, called Cayuse Junction, is populated by a dozen tents, pop-up canopies and a U-Haul truck, of all things. As I’m riding between them a second time, a lady waves me down.
“Just a sec’, I can’t hear you,” I say as she starts speaking before I’ve paused the music in my ears.
“Did you see a white van?” she repeats.
“Yep,” I confirm, “I sure did.”
“Oh good,” she says with relief.
Jeremy arrives and we chat with her a little more while waiting for Joel. The van is bringing their customers, we learn. The tents are for them. She is a rafting and hiking guide. They paid some $300 a night to have everything taken care of.
“We had problems with our truck,” she explains of the U-Haul.
We hear Joel coming and offer our goodbyes.
“We’ll probably come back up when we smell dinner,” I joke. It looks like they’ve hauled a full kitchen up here.
We descend the rough road to Cayuse Creek, cross the bridge and find both sites there already occupied. Darn. I’m not sure now that we’ll end up by water so I take a minute below the bridge to pump my bottle full.