Total PCT miles hiked today: 22.1
Total miles hiked: 23.3
Sean-o here. For the second time in a week we were awakened in the wee hours by something big moving outside our tents. The first time I was sure it was a black bear circling in for some pre-packaged snacking. After C&C got a good look at that visitor, and it turned out to be something else entirely, I withheld any conclusions about the snapping sticks and thumping steps. Sure enough, for the second time it was a mule deer doe raiding the camping spot apparently for salts. Other hikers later told us that deer will come in to lick anything salty they can find--hanging clothes, backpack straps, pee spots, and Yeti even told us about waking up while cowboy camping to find a deer lapping at his face. It seems we hikers have become part of the food chain.
Today was a sweet day. After a dry night, we were able to get delicious cold water at Whiskey Spring. We made coffee, Chuck and I shared a first attempt at instant chocolate pudding (it works!) and then we ripped off more than 20 easy miles.
We lunched alongside Mark Trail, Moonwalker, Moonwalker's daughter, and Cougar.
The end of the trail involved a steep descent of several thousand feet through greeeeeeen fern and dogwood-shaded trail under high pines and then live oak. The air temperature soared as we dropped in elevation.
Here we saw the lure of the Middle Fork of the Feather River where the PCTA has built a cool bridge. But the water below was the real attraction, its clear green currents twisting around boulders giant and small. We swam and sunned for two hours then had dinner tucked among the rocks on shore (yummy! Ramen with garlic, onion, lemon pepper, Parmesan, salsa and olive oil).
|Dionysus and Pan in the Middle Fork of the Feather.|
Just near the time we were going to leave, Mark Trail, Moonwalker, and Moonwalker's daughter showed up -- and began really having a great time jumping in the water. Oooooh, we wished we could stay. And then Qball, Jeremiah Johnson, Wolf Pack, Beardo showed -- and Jeremiah ran the rapids, getting bruised and cut in the process, but elated at the rush.
As we hiked out, Moonwalker took a photo of us passing on the bridge far over the swimming hole:
|Yep, that's us. Photo courtesy of Moonwalker.|
|The Gay Caballeros. Photo courtesy of Moonwalker.|
|Up on the bridge, Pan in the lead followed by Dionysus (and yours truly, Seano, as photographer)|
|Moonwalker and Mark Trail sunning next to the swimming hole.|
We headed out to make some more miles -- but then found a great spot just a mile or so up the mountain -- with little promise of further campsites for some miles. Aw heck. Let's call it an evening. So we camped early to save a big "up" for tomorrow AM and then another big-mile day.
|Seano, with Dionysus washing his feet in the tent (away from mosquitoes).|
A few things I hope I never again take for granted after through-hiking ...
Water in general
Other liquids that can be drunk
Toilet paper (and Wet Wipes!)
A heated room
An air-conditioned room
Cell phone coverage
Clean cotton clothes
A bed more than an inch off the ground
Other flat things. If nature abhors a vacuum, she also seems disinclined toward places to set bottles, camp stoves, and tired hikers' butts.
Returning with new eyes of appreciation for the simple comforts will be one of the lasting gifts of what we're doing.
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