Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 96- Second Place Prize

Etna at mile 1606 to Fisher Lake at mile 1620

When I put my shoes on at ten o'clock my feet have swollen during their 23 hours of town life.  I had hoped to spend a few more hours in town writing postcards, returning to the soda counter, maybe a lunch out, and maybe getting to watch something besides Olympic soccer qualifications.  It wasn't to be, though.

White Jeep, we met him a few days ago, was shuttling hikers back to the trail head. His last run of the day was at ten o'clock.  While I knew the smart thing to do was take ride at ten, I didn't want to give up my town time. We heard it was a hard hitch out of town, unless you want to ride with the loggers at 5 a.m.  portrait finally talked me into taking the early shuttle out.

When we reached the trail head there were clouds in the sky cutting the sun's heat. Even though I had looked forward to not hiking in the morning it was great weather for a hike.

The trail climbed, but nothing like the climb coming out of Castella, for just a few hot miles. Shasta pocked her head in for a few minutes before hiding from view again. The clouds looked soft and fluffy above the hard gray peaks.

As we climbed we saw Sister Sue and her daughters. We leaped frogged with them most of the day. They passed us when we stopped for lunch. At the end of the meal Alice and Steve hiked up. I hadn't seen them since Tuolumne Meadows a few hundred miles ago.  We chatted for a bit and then they moved on to get water and we were a couple minutes behind them.

At the water we chatted again while they made a late lunch. I snacked on popcorn I had popped and than packed out of Etna. I was pretty pleased by my tasty snack idea. They were planning on stopping earlier than us, but they had hiked more than us already for the day. Any miles Portrait and I did we were counting them as bonus miles because we were supposed to still be in town.

After leaving Alice and Steve to their lunches Portrait and I made a plan to get to Fisher Lake and that would set us up for Seiad Valley nicely. I made the plan to get to the lake in time to swim. I picked up my pace when it was quarter to five and the lake was four miles away.

The views were muted by the clouds and nothing seemed to break up the hiking. Everything looked alike so it was a good stretch to try to go faster. The trail did have some stony sections that slowed me back down.
The trail started to look like it had water up ahead. I kept expecting to see the lake around ever switchback. I had wanted to get there by six, but the lake seemed to be elusive. When we were just two tenths from the lake it was six o'clock and the trail crossed the last water of the day (I try to avoid drinking lake water). Those were a long .2 to the lake.

Fisher Lake looked a little more pond than lake. Ringing the edge were submerged pine tree boughs making it difficult to get into the water. I soon decided that with the breeze coming off the water and the sun about to disappear behind a ridge I didn't want to swim. It was a disappointing end to my lake goal, but second place prize was cheddar and potato soup with extra cheddar cheese added into the soup mix, a wonderful little flat spot for my tent, and climbing into my tent to journal before 8 p.m.  All around a great second place prize.

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