Tuesday, September 04, 2012

136- Flip Flops

From the junction with Round the Mountain Trail at mile 2244 to mile 2264

I didn't sleep well last night. It was unsurprisingly cold at the base of the glacier-covered Mount Adams. Surprisingly enough,there were mosquitoes once the sun was up. They were fierce and drove me Portrait and out of camp.

We passed a group of section hikers, but didn't chat long-the mosquitoes were forming a cloud around them. Then we were passed by two Mayflies while we were making a list of backpacking foods I eat. Our list making was interrupted by a sweeping view of Mount St. Helen, Mount Rainer, and the jagged peaks of Goat Rocks as were stood there gaping at the view we were passed by another thru-hiker.

The trail decended down to a silty stream flowing from one of the glaciers on Mount Adams. There we met up while Silky Smooth and Blackout. We chatted with the for a bit, despite the mosquitoes flying around us.

We didn't take any silty water because the guide book mentioned a seasonal stream without the silt not too far up the trail. We were still there when Silky Smooth and Blackout hiked past. It was a day to play leap frog with them-until mid morning when we hiked together. We had known them since Ttuolumne Meadows but never really hung out with them. For over an hour we chatted about our hikes. Time and miles went by quickly. They stopped around quarter til 12 for a break and we pushed on.
safer rock hop crossing
Log crossing I couldn't do
Not long after parting ways Portrait and I came across a pair of nearly brand new flip flops. Portrait was pretty sure that it would help if nothing was touching my Achilles tendon and it seemed like the trail agreed. I almost didn't take them, but I could hear the trail (and Portrait, too) telling me to take them.

We came to a river that was very silty. All the dry rocks were a bland gray, but everything the water touched was a deep rust read.  The water was flowing quick and we spent some time trying to find a safe and dry way across the different tributaries.  There was a skinny log over the deepest and swiftest part of the river.  The two May flies flew across it with ease.  I took a step onto the log and knew right away I couldn't cross the river that way.  We did find an easy rock hop spot across.  
I would have liked to stop for lunch around noon, but the trail didn't give us a break spot. Even when hungry I can be rather picky about where I stop for lunch. We ended up hiking until one o'clock and stopped at a shade covered campsite-which was great for the first ten minutes and then it was too cold.

Before leaving our lunch spot I swapped my hiking shoes for the new flip flops. It wasn't too long after lunch that we met back up with Silky Smooth and Blackout. They had passed us while we relaxed under our shade tree. We went back to playing leap frog with them.

Lava Springs
Nearly four miles after lunch we arrived at the beautiful Lava Spring. There was a large mound of lava rocks and flowing from under that mound was some of the clearest and coldest water I had seen on the trail. The trail builders had built a small wall to form a pool on either side of the trail. I grabbed a liter of water and a snack, shucked off my flip flops and put my feet in the downstream flow of water. The flip flops seemed to be helping, at least my tendon didn't hurt as bad as the day before, but it was still sore even with muscle rub on.

Right before we left the spring Blueberry and Skippy showed up. They had been wondering who had been hiking in flip flops and why. After I told them about my hurt tendon they offer me some Advil. After being sick for three days and taking most of my Advil I had forgotten to get new while in town so I had been rationing my few remaining pills. They gave me six pills--enough to get me to town.

I hiked on in my flipflops. A dirt road was within sight with two five gallon buckets right before it. We pried off the lids, knowing from the weight of the buckets that they were empty, to find nothing but crushed cans in one. We moved on quickly.

The trail followed a dirt road for awhile. Fresh car tread marks were in the soft soil. We came across the owners picking berries just pass Silky Smooth and Blackout who were also berry picking.

My feet after a day of flip flop wearing.
At the end of the road we came to the last water for the day. We filled up, I cleaned off my feet and put my shoes back on. We were going to be hiking into the dark and I didn't want any stubbed toes due to hiking in flip flops. We ended up stopping just shy of full dark. We were aiming for some ponds mentioned in the guide book, but we didn't know their mileage, so we decided to stop while we could still see enough of the area around the trail to find a flat spot.

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