Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day 12 : PCT Mile 256 Arrastre Trail Camp

Tuesday May 5, 2015
25 Miles Today
266 Total Miles

Last night during the commotion with the wind and all a guy came up to my tent and asked me my name, then he said, "Oh, you're the section hiker", perhaps it's because section hikers are so rare in these parts. It's possible that I am being overly sensitive but I detected a slight tone of condescension in his 'section hiker' remark. He said he was planning on camping in the next site. During this time the wind continued to buffet and howl. Like a skateboarder riding up and down the canyon walls the wind would zip past first in one direction. Then turn around and come whipping past from the opposite direction. 

In my 'bomb-proof' tent the wind was manageable enough to cook dinner. After dinner I went over to visit my new neighbor and found him laying on his tent. He said, "This is the fifth time I've set this tent up, the wind keeps blowing it over." I suggested that perhaps he needed bigger rocks. "I Have rocks", and he showed me the baseball sized rock that he was using to pound in stakes. As he lay on his tent he was perusing the instructions that came with it. "Perhaps for hints on setting up in the wind," I thought. I went and got a bowling ball sized rock and helped him place it over one of his stakes. He didn't seem overly enamored with a 'section-hiker' helping him so I left him to his own devices. 

As I sat in my tent planning tomorrow's (which is really today's) route, I heard a "Aarghh" of brief frustration. How else to become an expert but by experience. Some day he will be an expert at setting up a tent in the wind. 

I woke this morning to the trickling sound of water dancing from rock to rock down the canyon. It was so windy last night that it was impossible to hear. But with the silence of the morning it sounded delightful. It's one of my all time favorite sounds. As I lay there I noticed I could hear it a lot better from my left ear. I reach for my right ear and found the companion to the missing ear plug that escaped from my left ear during the night. It's been twice now on this trip that I've fallen asleep to howling winds to wake to silent still air.

A rare soggy trail

Mission Creek, I camped in the wind down there last night

Last view of Mt San Jacinto in the south

Wow, first time I've seen this.
I got up and thought about my new neighbor, how did he fair? I walked to his site and he wasn't there, nor was any of his stuff, no sign. "Gone with the wind," I thought, as I peed on his tent site.

Today's hike was a much different one from yesterday's. I climbed out of the desert in the forest. It was like walking into a cathedral. The tall trees like columns supporting a green canopy above my head to shield me from the desiccating rays of the burning sun.  Ponderosa pines, red cedars, Douglas and silver-tip firs all vied for attention from my tree starved, desert burned eyes. Oh the joys of experiencing anew the wonder of the forest. 

The entire day was spent above the desert, entering Big Bear country. I passed trail magic from Papa Smurf and Mountain Mama and a sofa and tool locker filled with goodies placed by the local hostel. Tonight's camp is at Arrastre Trail Camp, where a local Eagle Scout completed his eagle project making us a table to eat at. I am camped here with Silver, Diogenes, and Chillie Willie. It is they that bring tidings of changes in the weather forecast with rain, wind, and possibly snow forecast for the area covering the last seventy five miles. Hmmm... something to sleep on. FYI it's really cold here tonight.

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