Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 97-A Good Place to Sit

Fisher Lake at mile 1620 to dirt road at mile 1644.7

Saw a deer on the hill while eating breakfast. He had the biggest set of antlers I've seen on a deer except for those mounted on a wall.  We left camp planning on a twenty mile day Seiad Valley is in a bit of an awkward spot for the mileage  we typically do.

The morning started with some uphill and more lakes. Most of the lakes weren't the crystal blue waters that I got used to while in the Sierra's. They looked a little more pond like: small, greenish brown, and uninviting. They were probably warmer than the lakes I've been swimming in.

The trail took us up to a pass and we sat on a rock for a few minutes enjoying the breeze. I had my sleeves rolled up-it was muggy again-and the light wind felt good against my skin.  Leaving the top of the pass there was a lake below us that was Sierra blue, but the trail didn't take us down to it. Instead it took us right back up. Usually after a climb up to a pass you can expect to go down for a few miles. Not this time.

My pack was feeling heavy-lots of food in there-but other than that the uphill wasn't too bad. It also didn't last too long. It may have only been a mile until the trail gained the top of the ridge and went down the other side.

At a trail junction for a spring .3 off trail there was a downed tree. It was the perfect sitting tree:  right height, good sized, springy. It just called out to me to sit and have a snack break, so I did and Portrait did too.  It was as comfortable as it looked. For the last couple minutes we were there we were joined by Estaro--who I hadn't seen since night hiking the Aqua duct around mile 600. He told us he passed a Southbounder in the morning and that was probably who I heard passing the my tent before I was up.

We didn't go to the water. Instead we decided to make do with the small amount of water we were both carrying for three miles to a creek. A lot of those three miles were up, but I didn't seem to need to drink much. We reached the top of the up and chatted with some day hikers before going the last mile down to the creek and lunch.

At the creek there was another inviting log to sit on. It was large, bark free, and completely in the shade with a sunny field behind it. We joined Robin Hood and Tortugue there.  About ten minutes after sitting down in the cool shade the sun had shifted enough to put us all in the hot sun. Lunch ended shortly after that.

There was water in a mile so I took less than a liter from the lunch creek. It was mostly uphill to the other water source and the trail continued to go uphill after I added a liter and a half of water to my pack.
There was a lake outlet in five miles and a spring in nine and neither Portrait or I like drinking lake water so we wanted to carry enough to get us to the spring.

I hiked in front trying to keep my pace at a steady clip. Portrait was close behind but we didn't talk much. I don't mind spending a hot afternoon with rolling trail lost in my own thoughts. I composed emails in my thoughts, I dreamt about gummy candies, I imagined a pedicure, and I thought about Oregon which was tantalizingly close.

As the trail descended to the lake I was suddenly very happy to have so much water on my back. The lake was large, shallow, and the color of sand. And it had two thu-hikers taking a bath in it.   Portrait and I stopped on the bank to have a quick snack break-all breaks had been quick today. After eating some chocolate covered pretzels and sunflower seeds we hiked on.

Again I lead the way and again I spent the miles hanging out in my own thoughts. It seemed to really help the time go by. There also didn't seem to be much to look at. There was a thick haze that made the closest ridges look blue and the ones just beyond were iridescent and almost too bright to look at. We thought there might be a fire somewhere in the distance.

The spring was a small pool of water so cold it hurt my hand when it was in there just long enough to fill my bottle. I took three liters with the intent of drinking at least half of one there with snack. We had snack sitting in a three-forked tree which was surprisingly comfortable.

At six we hiked on for the last four miles of the day. Portrait thought we'd get there before eight, but I wanted to get there at 7:30 so I tried to go a little faster. There still wasn't much to look at nor talk about so we just hiked. We had four hikers just behind us who we were pretty sure were hiking further than us, but we didn't want to be last to camp just in case.

I forgot to look at my watch right when I got into camp, but I checked it when I took a seat near the fire ring:  7:35. Success. Minutes later the other four hikers streamed by. They wanted breakfast in town the next day so off they went. I wanted dinner before eight p.m. so I was satisfied with the day. I climbed into my sleeping bag just after nine, and about a half hour later I spotted a headlamp coming down the trail. It was No Amp. We told her there was plenty of room on the old dirt road and we talked while she sat up camp.

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