Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 158- Racing To Harts

From campsite at mile 2609 to campground at Harts Pass at mile 2630

Ice clung to the inside of the tent when I woke up at 5:30 to blog. I had slept warm mummied up in my sleeping bag. Just before 6:30 Portrait and I got up, and we got up quickly. The ground was covered in frost. The other tents had frost muting their bright green, blue, and orange colors. My tent was stiff with ice as I tried to fold it up with stiff fingers. Portrait shoved the tent in his side water pocket so it wouldn't get anything else wet. We waved to Bone Lady who sat up just as we were leaving. I could almost hear her thinking we were crazy as she hunkered down into her sleeping bag.

Frosted campsite
The trail went up for a mile to the pass and I was warm from toes to fingers before reaching the top. The sun was up but lurking behind a ridge, but the day was warming up anyways. The campsite on top of the ridge where I had wanted to camp looked like it had more frost than our spot and didn't have as awesome of a view.

The other side of the ridge was in deep cold shadows. I went from almost being too hot in my jacket and hat going up to a little chilly on the way down. We were moving right along though. We had five miles done before nine--four of it being downhill. The descent without using my trekking poles made my tendons complain loudly. I took more Advil when we took a break at a stream, but I left my poles attached to my pack--I wasn't ready to freeze my fingers again.

The trail leveled out and brought us into a sunny field. It felt great to finally be in the sun. We stopped to shed layers and get my poles out. It was time to take my hands out of my pockets. It stayed warm and mostly sunny as we hiked in and out of forest and fields.

At a small bridge over a creek we stopped for a break. Portrait draped the tent over the railing--ice tumbled into the river. I ate chocolate that Opus sent us in a care package at Stehikin. We both put on sunblock.

After the creek we started our first long climb of the day. We aimed to make a campsite 2.6 miles into the climb for lunch. While going up we followed the creek we had just gotten water at as it grew wider and slower moving. We made it to the campsite just in time-my stomach said it was lunch time. Portrait put the tent out to dry while we ate in a very small patch of sun. I was nearly as cold at the end of lunch as I had been leaving camp.
The trail continued its climb and went through red huckleberry fields so I warmed up quickly. There were a few more wispy clouds today than yesterday, but the day was just as lovely. It was warm out but there were faint hints of coolness- -quintessence autumn weather.

I was having a wonderful time by the top of the climb. I followed a little spur trail up to a higher point all happy and grinning and glad to be out there hiking. The view was wonderful. I had a snack and looked out at the next five or so miles of trail snack along a far ridge.

Looking off towards Harts Pass
We pushed on. We were hoping for trail magic at Harts Pass. I don't think you're really supposed to hope for trail magic but we knew magic had been happening there and it seemed likely it would continue while the bulk of hikers came through. We had a little hustle in our steps (or I did whenever my Advil was working).

The trail brought us along the shoulder of the ridges teasing us with a ridge walk that we could see was coming up but the trail kept unfolding along the shoulder of the mountain. We call it hidden trail when we can look out from a view point and follow the course of the trail along the ridge for miles and then when we hike it the trail folds around every curve of the mountain that we hadn't known was there.

At the spring we met up with Face Plant, then Bone Lady showed up and then a few others who I didn't know. We were all racing for Harts.

From the short ridge walk we were able to look down on the road that went through Harts Pass. If there was a trail magic tent down there we couldn't see it. We were four miles away at that point and could see the trail until it hooked around the shoulder of the mountain. Bone Lady caught up with us again right as we started the descent down the other side of the ridge.

Two miles from the road Bone Lady was slightly ahead talking to a guy going south. From her body language I thought he was telling her Harts Pass was a ghost town, instead he told us that there was magic but the guy doing it had went into town to resupply. I didn't know until Bone Lady told me that the southbounder was Wiseman, done with the thru-hike and going south for 80 miles.

We continued to hustle down the trail. My tendons started to protest all forms of walking and I promised them the end for the day and for the hike was very close. We were hoping the guy would be back from town by the time we arrived, but it wasn't to be.

We made ourselves at home at his picnic table. He had left a cooler of water out for us and Where's Chris, another Trail Angel, told us to use whatever we needed (fuel, Advil, mole skin) and handed out apples.

Time passed and more hikers showed up. We ended up being a large group: everybody from camp last night, plus Supergirl, and the four I didn't really know. We ate our dinners and it got dark out a cloud dropped a few rain drops on us then went on its way. People started drifting off to their tents around 8. Portrait and I called it a night just before 8:30 when our host still wasn't there.

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