Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 92-Twenty Minute View

Mile 1535 to mile 1556

I woke up in Shasta's shadow this morning. Moments later the sun peeked over her shoulder and filled my tent with early morning gold. It was beautiful for a bit and then I could feel the tent warming up so it was time to hike.

After a couple of sunny miles we made our first stop for the day at Porcupine Lake. It was a small lake nestled in a bowl formed by granite peaks. A southbounder had told us the lake was just like the ones in the Sierra's. It certainly was beautiful and I did see the Sierra resemblance. I did not go for a swim:  something about having to hike miles and it being too early in the day (although already plenty hot).

The trail was still working on the same uphill as yesterday, but it was getting close to being level. We hiked on the side hill above Toad Lake up towards a mini pass and then, in the first time in two days the trail went down. The 30 miles of uphill were over.

It was a slow down to match the slow up. A few times I could.see the trail on the hill on the other side of the valley-I always love moments like that where I can see the next mile of trail.

The trail was descending down to a lake. Right before we got to the lake I saw something run towards the trail. My first thought was I saw a dog, but around the corner came two little spotted fawns with spring in their steps. They came about ten feet away and I could almost see the puzzled look they gave us. We were clearly in their way, they tried to come closer, but were scared. After a bit they hopped back to their mother and we continued towards a spring and lunch about two miles away.

There were a lot of springs in those couple of miles-one even had a perfect log in the shade. We pushed on to get to the listed spring.  That spring ended up having no seats so we just sat on the ground. Having lunch there was like sitting on a parade route:  day hikers and weekenders kept streaming past. I ended up eating two lunches after I did a food bag inventory.

There was a road and trail head just over a mile away-the source of all the weekend traffic. We set off for there hoping to find a trash can. It wasn't to be though, but we did find White Jeep, an AT hiker until he hurt his knee in an accident and also the maker of the GPS app that Portrait uses on his phone. His wife was hiking a long section of the trail; we had met her about a week ago. He asked if there was anything we needed and we (Portrait, actually) asked if he'd take our trash. He did.  Then they talked about the GPS app and some improvement idea (in the hot sun for twenty minutes-I almost melted into the pavement).

Once we left White Chief I had a hard time getting back into the rhythm of hiking. My legs felt tired from standing for twenty minutes and I felt slightly overheated. After about an hour of feeling this way we finally stopped for a break in the shade and I drank a protein shake. After the short break I felt much more into the hiking.

We were passed by a thru-hiker who I chatted to for a couple of minutes, but she blew on past Portrait (she was a May Fly).  We thought we'd catch her at the water source, but she wasn't there when we got there. The water was a little stagnate and had a little more green slim than I like to drink. It was also the only listed water for the next nine miles so I took a liter.

The trail went slowly up, but this time only for two miles not 30.  We decided to hike until 7:30 because there were no listed campsites. Around 6:30 the trail crossed a small. Spring-bonus water. We both poured out our untouched stagnate water and refilled. I also took most of another liter just to make sure I had enough.

A little after seven we were walking just below the ridge line of a mountain. Portrait bet me there would be great camping up top with a view; I wasn't so sure about stopping twenty minutes early. He went up to check it out, called down to me that it was awesome, so I hiked up. It did have a pretty great view of layers of mountains and one lake in the foreground. I ate dinner while watching the sun set behind the mountains. It was a view that was worth twenty minutes.

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