Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 148-Have a Little Smoke With Breakfast

From mile 2441 to mile 2461 by a cold little spring 

I had another great night's sleep-that's something I could get used to for the rest of the hike. We left camp just after 7:30 with the hope of doing a long day to make tomorrow's hike into town shorter.

The sky was hazy with smoke. The nearest ridges were tinged blue and the ridges beyond them faded away into the glaring haze. Portrait and I figured the smoke was from the fire we saw yesterday-we had crossed the valley and were climbing up the ridge where we had seen the column of smoke. If it was the same fire it had grown a lot over night. There was enough smoke that I could taste it with every breath as we climbed upward.

Everyone we passed going south said the smoke got worst as the climb went higher. It did seem thicker as we went up. Even with the haze the view of the ridges were lovely. The mountains became ghost in the thick smoke.

At the top of the climb we stopped for an early lunch. The smoke didn't seem as bad at the top. We sat with Panama Red for the break and talked mostly about the CDT. He left before us with town on his mind. We left about a half hour later.

We followed the trail down.  We had left most of the smoke on the other side of the ridge. The air was a little cleaner to breath but the views were still hazy. At lunch we had only done eight miles (all uphill) but my pace was slower on the downhill because of my tendons.

At the bottom of the downhill was a river that was moving swiftly through a bed of gray rocks.  The water fell from the top of the ridge in a serious of cascading falls.  We had heard the water before we saw it.  The guide book called the crossing a dangerous ford--no bridge, no log, and no simple rock hop.  It looked like it could be dangerous.  I moved slowly, my tendons sore and wobbly, from rock to rock into the middle of the river.  In the middle of the river I got a little stuck--there was a rock I could jump too, but even with unhurt tendons I'm not a rock jumper, so that was out.  When I stopped looking at the closest bank and looked up-stream I saw a cairn and an easy way to rock hop out of the middle of the river.  On the other bank we filled up our waters and bellies.

Looking upstream 
As soon as we crossed the river we started another climb-our last for the day. By the time we were at the top I was exhausted. My calf muscles throbbed as the tendons tightened with each step. we stopped for a snack and Portrait checked our location. We were only two miles from the creek where we hoped to find camping so I didn't take any Advil.

It was a very long two miles for me. My least favorite trail with the hurt tendons is down hill and rocky and it was two miles of that. The rocks shifted underfoot which would jar my tendon causing a sharp pain (and grimace). Finally, at dusk, we were down at the spring.

Portrait filled up and went in search of a campsite among the pines while I filled up. The water was almost painfully cold when I plunged my hand in to fill my bottle. It was some of the best water I had on trail.

I could hear Portrait whistling and I followed the tune more than the trail. He had found us a nice place for the night. I was too weary to do much and without clearing the ground I put down my tyveck, tested the feel of the ground, and called it home while I took off my shoes. I had no intention of moving for the rest of the night except to brush my teeth after dinner.

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