Saturday, May 7, 2016

Day 7 : Tule Spring

22 miles today
2526 miles to go

Overcast and in the fifties. Very much like the weather I grew up in. Not quite cold but definitely not warm. Actually good hiking weather. I start before dawn. Climbing up and around, around and up. The peaks around me are bathed in clouds and fog. Swirling and rolling around and over the tops. Drenching everything in a heavy mist. I am below that climbing nearer and nearer. No wind where I am but the boiling of the clouds, tearing them apart shows that it's windy up there. 

The trail turns and heads north around the west side of the peaks. The sun is breaking through, like the transition between the fog and sunshine. These clouds have the look of coastal fog. I walk into the sun. The mist is rising from the trail, heated by the sun. The trail warms, I warm up too. Braveheart is out there in front of me. I am behind. I can't seem to hike as fast today. Not sure why. Part of it is that I am not in a hurry. I know what to expect. Another part is psychological. I remember this part of the trail being exhausting. So I am pacing myself, unconsciously, or not. It's just that for some reason I am moving slowly, or feel like I am moving slowly. 

We finally arrive at Mike Herrera’s place. When I got there I met Yamima, Shi, and Robert, three thru-hikers that were just heading out. They invited us to camp with them at Tule Spring. Perhaps we will, since that's where we are heading. Braveheart asked, “Do you think Mike Herrera is a real person?” Mike wasn't there. Tom was, Josh was, but no Mike. I assume he’s real, a lot of hikers have received a lot of trail magic to his credit. If he isn't real perhaps he's a real angel. I had a few pancakes left over from breakfast. A few is four large pancakes, with syrup. Before hiking I would have felt stuffed eating that many pancakes. Now I feel like if I don't eat them I'll lose too much weight. In that spirit I look to the future and a meal or two at Paradise Cafe. There were no other hikers there besides the two of us. I looked at the trail register and there are only three names I recognized, speedy hikers moving way faster than me. Everyone else we started with is behind us. 

Back on the trail the same ‘moving through molasses’ feeling comes over me again. I struggle to keep moving. The air is cool, I find it cold, and the sun is fighting a losing battle with the overwhelming bulk of gray clouds that are pummeling and swallowing the ridge above me. I am carrying too much water. The water report says there's no water at Tule spring so I'm carrying two days water in anticipation of a dry camp tonight. The weight adds to my general lethargic feeling. To sit down and take a nap, perhaps watch the clouds float by. I decide that I want to camp with Yamima, Shi, and Robert. Robert is German and Yamima & Shi are Israeli. I imagine interesting conversations in my head to pass the time. Just as I am arriving at the camp I meet Matt, an Australian, and he comes and chats with us a bit too. I have a good time talking with everyone until it gets too cold to be outside, the breeze blowing from the west has an icy bite to it that cuts right through my clothes. But not before I learn the Hebrew word for trail, or path, ‘shvil’ I have no idea if I'm spelling it right, that's the phonetic spelling.

I am tired and feel ready to sleep. Tomorrow Paradise, as in Cafe.

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