Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 151-The Trail Provides

From campsite on Grizzly Peak at mile 2490 to field at mile 2509

I spent most of the night slipping downhill and inch worming back to the top of my sleeping bag. It was a warm night though. Just before 6:30 when I was finishing up my blogging I happened to look up at the sky a saw the space station moving across the small clearing above me. I shook Portrait awake and he was able to catch a glimpse of the lone bright dot in the morning sky. Once it was gone it was time to get up.

I had big plans for the day. I took Advil in camp and picked up the cuben fiber pack. It weighed almost nothing. It was cotton candy and spider webs light. I could see us going 23 miles--we were practically there already as we left camp just before 7:20.

Glacier Peak just after leaving camp
My tendons were feeling great. I had full confidence in pack swapping to help them heal before Canada. We hiked downhill--with no pain breaking through the Advil--through a field full of white dandelion puffs. I wish I saw it when the flowers were in full bloom. The whole field must have been solid yellow. Now it looked like fall with a riot of leaves painted in reds, yellows, and oranges.

We passed a campsite about a mile from Grizzly Peak that looked perfectly flat. We could have made it there last night had we known there was a spot to make camp. It's a hard thing to guess at--I didn't want a repeat of the day we left Snoqualmie Pass and night hiked for a couple of hours because we couldn't find camping.
Around 10 my tendons started hurting faintly as the Advil wore off. I had thought the Advil would last longer than that. We were on a downhill to a small stream and I wanted to wait at least that long until I took more Advil. Once I was drinking water and eating cookies in a small campsite I decided to push until lunch before taking more Advil. At the end of break Portrait gave me just over a pound of weight from his load--he was missing his ultra-light set-up but wasn't complaining.

It was 11:30 when we left the snack spot with the goal of 2.5 more miles before lunch at the next water just after the 2500 mile mark. We hiked uphill first through another beautiful autumn field of huckleberries clinging to the side of the ridge. There weren't any trees and the summer sun beat down on us until we crossed to the other side of the ridge and went down through thick forest towards water.

We could hear the water below us when Portrait realized we had gone 0.07 miles past the 2500 mark. We walked back (me with some reluctance). We made a sign out of some green lichen that clung to itself like velcro and outlined the numbers with pine cones. Then it was onward to lunch down the hill.

Portrait took off his pack and I saw when he dumped it on the ground the Earth shook with its force. He sat down next to me, took off his shoes, and gingerly rubbed his tendons. He was getting tendinitis, too. We had to switch back. My tendons groaned in protest (my shoulders did as well). We couldn't have two of us hobbling along to Canada.

Team All Dead also marked the 25,000 mile mark
On the uphill after lunch we made a list of pieces that could be cut off my pack. Every inch of extra strap, unused buckle, and empty pocket went on the list. I could feel my pack trembling in fear. We made a list of everything else I could send home--every once would help my tendons. The list were long, but still wouldn't give me as light of a pack as the one I put on that morning. What I needed according to Portrait was a different pack, and I agreed. But I couldn't get one without phone service and there wasn't supposed to be any for the rest of the hike.

We were on an exposed sidehill with a view of a dozen ridges before far away smoke hid the others from view when we heard a beep beep. I think it was an electronic beep, Portrait thought it was a bird. Whatever it was, there was cell service right there. The trail provides, and it gave me what I needed. I called home. My Mom said she could put the GoLite pack I started the hike with in the mail in the morning. I should have it in Stehekin on Monday morning. I was thrilled--now I just had to walk four more days with a heavy pack, unless the trail provided a post office (or trash can).

We hiked on. My glow from getting a new pack in the works wore off as my tendon pain increased. I started to look for a place to have snack as the trail started a series of switchbacks downhill. There was a little campsite with a few sitting rocks next to a fire ring that pulled me in. I was moving towards it when Portrait asked if I had seen the boulder I had just walked by. I hadn't so I backed up. It was the best rock chair I had seen on trail yet. I climbed up with my PopTart and Portrait and settled in. It was a hard spot to leave fifteen minutes later.

We came across a very small spring coming out of the ground right above the trail. We stopped to fill up-there was no water listed in this section excepted a lake. I took a liter and a half to get me into the next day. When we got to the lake a mile later it was so lovely I wouldn't have had any problems drinking its still blue water.

We climbed up to the ridge after the lake. The PCT gave us a ridge walk through huckleberry fields for a couple of miles. Every so often we had views of Glacier Peak to our left. The peak kept getting larger--that was where we were going.

The sun started to set as we got to the end of the ridge walk. We dropped down onto one of the mountain's shoulders and followed the slope down. We were kept an eye out for campsites as we went, but the side hill provided nothing. At the bottom, just before dark, was a trail junction in a small grassy field. With no debating we called it home.

1 comment:

  1. Good hiking the rest of the way. We'll be watching for you... Happy trails!