From Mt Ashland Campground (Mile 1718.5) to pond and spring (Mile 1738.7)
Total PCT Miles hiked today: 20.2
Back to the trail -- tho this section of the PCT south and then east of Ashland abounds in hiker pit stops (places to get food, drink, or lodging as wished). We cross roads and can hear traffic as we traverse the mountains in an arc around the southern end of the Ashland valley.
We eat lunch (and have our free PCT Hiker beer) at Callahan's Lodge, while watching a bit more of the Olympics. At Callahan's we see 3Bears, whom we have missed since Kennedy Meadows more than 700 miles ago. He seemed pretty wiped out. We also bumped into Pace on the trail who had giardiasis and recuperated for a time in Shasta. He's doing well, tho he indicated the trail was wearing on him. So it is for everyone we talk to these days.
We feel it too in many ways. We do not, however, miss home. We are home together. We want to be here. We want to do this. But it is a work of determination and discipline.
Maybe our relationship with the PCT is like other long-term intimate relationships: we have passed thru the stages of infatuation and unqualified enthusiasm, to disillusionment, and beyond that to a loving warmth and depth composed of companionship, gratitude, history, happy conviviality and deeply woven joys. And yet we are clear-eyed about its difficulties, and about our own short-comings in relation to it.
Evening sees us in a perfectly improbable campsite under a giant white fir, looking across a sundown meadow and pond, a hundred dragon flies busily patrolling for and intercepting mosquitoes and small biting flies. We eat supper under dragonfly protection, and Dionysus blesses us with sips of tequila ... but just to ease the foot pain a bit ( ... riiight).
During the night a chorus of coyotes just across the pond rises to such operatic heights, it seems to shake the stars. We sat bolt upright in our tents and stared into the night with our mouths open. Nothing in my experience with coyotes has ever come anywhere near it. Astonishing.
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