Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 87-Catching Stride

Mile 1448 to campsite at mile 1469

Around ten p.m. last night there was too much lighting to ignore and I very reluctantly got out of my  cozy sleeping bag to put up my tent. I only saw a few more flashes of lighting before falling asleep. It didn't rain at all, but it was nice to not worry about it. It stayed cloudy until the morning and a cool breeze came into the tent making the idea of getting up uninteresting.

When packing up my tent Portrait noticed a hiker on the trail and it was Stride.  By the time breakfast was eaten and everything was packed up she had an hour head start. Portrait and I set out to try and catch her.
We cruised along at just over three miles an hour.  It was the perfect cool weather for hiking fast and the terrain was good for speed as well-which meant that Stride would also be cruising along.  A lot of the trail was along the ridge with what would have been an amazing view of Shasta if it weren't for the clouds. The view was still kind of neat, but I think that's because I already knew what the mountain looked like.

A few miles into the day we met a group out doing trail work. They were clearing brush and working on the tread way. This section is known for being overgrown, although I haven't found it to be too bad. They hadn't seen Stride.  Not long after leaving them we met two guys still in their camp with a campfire going. They said they say Stride about an hour earlier.  It seemed like we were gaining on her.

The trail climbed to the side of the ridge that looked out on the opposite valley as Shasta. It was almost as pretty as looking at the volcano. It had less clouds and the sun felt warmer. We stopped for a breather and Portrait remarked if we didn't find Stride somewhere on the ridge line she either didn't like views or she was moving. We didn't find her on the ridge.

The trail started to switchback down to a forest service road. On the second switchback I saw Stride sitting on a stump. I thought I had been going as fast as I could, but I had a skip in my step the last few switchbacks down. She yelled out "Castle!" Knowing me by my shirt (it's a great thing that hikers never change their clothes).

We greeted each other with hugs and we all sat down. She said she had just been about to leave, but had decided to eat a little more. I recounted our morning about trying to catch up. Then she updated us on the going-ons of all the hikers behind. There wasn't much news about Tommy or Clutch just that they were behind.

It was a short visit. We hadn't hiked together for all that long and hadn't seen each other since mile 700. Stride spent 750 miles trying to catch me and we were only able to share a lunch together. She is on a deadline and set to finish on September 4th as long as she continues hiking 27 plus mile days. I don't have a deadline and am shooting for a mid September finish.

We sat an ate for another twenty minutes after Stride hiked on. Once we started again we hiked slower. The trail felt much like it did before the lunch break. I think the views would have been great if the clouds had moved out, but it seemed like they were there to stay.

About two hours after lunch Aquaman and Salty caught up. They were hoping to catch up with Stride at camp which would put them at 35 miles for the day. Some of these hikers make me feel so slow. They zoomed on ahead to do 14 more miles.

There was a surprise spring a few miles later. I took a liter and drank a bunch while having a double snack-it seemed like I'm going to get to town with a lot of leftover food. From there it wasn't far to camp. I was really looking forward to getting into camp early and not feeling tired. There was a spring shortly before camp-I grabbed almost 3 liters so I could have extra if I wanted and walked the last few miles to camp where a double helping of dinner awaited me (and the mosquitoes awaited me as well).

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