Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 100-I Left My Umph! in California

From mile 1701 to mile 1719.5

Waking up was slow this morning. Thirty-three miles settled heavy into my body. A mosquito woke me up at 5:30, but I tried my hardest to pretend I was still sleeping. The buzzing increased as other mosquitoes joined the first. They ruined lounging time, but they didn't ruin my morning pot of tea.

We didn't leave camp until 8:30 which was fine-the plan was to get close to Ashland and nero in tomorrow morning. A twenty mile day sounded good after last night's late finish. If waking up had been slow the miles were slower. Thankfully we didn't pass nice campsite after nice campsite-it was a good thing we stopped when we did.  The trail stayed on the side hill from last night while slowly climbing upwards.  One thing was for sure from the top of the ridge:  Oregon was beautiful.

Nearly three miles had crept by when we gave in to the demands made by our bodies for food. I think I owed my body a large debt for skipping dinner after thirty miles of hiking. I sat on a rock a bit chunks of cheese from my shrinking one pound block.

From a metal pipe stuck in the hill side cold water gushed. I took enough to last eight miles to the next water source and to cook lunch.

Within no time I was hungry again and feeling sluggish as I followed the trail upwards. Snack had been less than an hour ago, but I wanted lunch. The last time I did a thirty mile day I spent the next day in town eating a double burger and ice cream. It seemed unlikely that a pot of ramen would be filling.

The ridge was hot-I expected Oregon to be a little cooler and have more trees. Maybe it will, north of here. I was on the look out for a thick patch of shade for a lunch spot. I would have taken the first descent spot no matter the time if there had been somewhere good. We didn't find a good shady spot until quarter of twelve.
I don't think a pot of ramen noodles has ever tasted so good. After eating I sat my pot aside, used my jacket for a blanket, my pack for a pillow, and dozed. I slept enough to have a couple of dreams. Just after one o'clock I sat up, stretched, ate a pack of crackers, and felt ready to hike for the first time that day.

It was four miles of down and flat to the water source. I hiked feeling normal again. I drank the last of my water when I could hear the new water flowing down the hillside. I drank a liter and took a liter to get me the next four miles.

Most of those miles were up. After leaving the stream the trail entered a pine forest thick with cool shadows-the Oregon I had imagined. The trail also left the dark forest for open ridge under the hot sun. From the ridge we could see Ashland Mountain and I daydreamed about what I wanted and needed to do in town the next day.

The trail crested the ridge and the next dozen miles to town were all down hill. Ten miles from town Portrait and I walked the quarter mile off trail to Grouse Gap Shelter. I was expecting an AT style shelter:  three sides, made from logs, a roof. What I found was so much cooler:  two sides (with a view of Shasta), made from stone, with a large round fire place in the middle, and a picnic table next to it.

I took off my shoes, sat down, and got started on making and eating dinner. The plan was to eat and then hike on. I wanted to have less than ten miles to town in the morning-more around six-or I would have stayed at the shelter.

We left, with full bellies, knowing it might be hard to find a flat place. The PCT loves side hill and it looked like we had 10 miles of side hill ahead of us. When we left it was the perfect time of early evening to do some hiking-sun on my back but not too hot.  As we hiked we tried to named the 50 states. They came fast and easy until the mid 40's. After state 49 we had to talk about other things to see if the last one would come to us.
Best nest I've ever been in

At quarter to eight I felt done. The trail hadn't given us a single possible campsite just a lot of hill. We came to a flat area and were looking around when a car drove right on pass. We hadn't realized we were so close to a paved road. And the road took all the flat spots. We crossed, hoping to to find something on the other side. Above the trail it looked like the ridge flattened out. Portrait went up to see and called back that it looked like an old trail with flat spots. I went up. It looked like home for the night to me.

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