Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 80 : Washing Socks and Woodpeckers

23 miles today
1197 miles to go

I awake with the slight change from dark to less dark. I lay in my warm cozy bag, already? I don't want to get up, to walk again for another twenty something miles. I just want to lay here where it's warm. Pfffssssssss, overruled, thank you left hand. As my mattress deflates I think of positive things. Breakfast is soon, granola for breakfast, the good kind. The flaky strawberry stuff is all gone, yay! Maple Pecan flavor, yay! With those positive thoughts and a few like it. Such as, Starbucks Caffe Mocha for breakfast dessert, including a handful of banana chips, yay! Woo hoo, this is going to be a great day. It's always a good day when Bigfoot doesn't show up to ruin your evening. I eat and pack quick, I just do because I've done it a lot, no special reason. I head out and down the trail. The trail goes down briefly, then proceeds to go up. Up, up, up, up is the way I go when I'm not going down. Up until I climb above the forest and can see. There’s Mt Shasta to the north, way off to the west I can see Castle Crags. They are right above Interstate five. That's where I'm headed, way, way, over there. Wow, I have a lot of walking to do. Looking the other way I can still see Mt Lassen. Not as interesting or dramatic from this side. Especially compared to Mt Shasta. Which just looks majestic with lots of snow on the sides.

The trail traverses across ridges today. I don't have to climb up or down many switchbacks. I play leapfrog with a few other Thru-hikers. one of them asks me, “Have you seen the professor?” “No, I don't believe I have.” I haven't seen Gilligan, Mary Ann, Ginger, the Skipper, or the Howells either I think to myself. I hike about ten more minutes down the trail. A Thru-hiker is sitting on the side of the trail. It appears he's boiling Ramen noodles. “I'm the Professor,” he says as if that was the question I was about ask. “I'm washing my socks.” I knew exactly what he meant and it caused me to question when the last time I washed my socks. We Thru-hikers are like that, we lose the filters of civilized society. “I'm No Skip, I need to poop.” Is an acceptable greeting out here. I ‘washed’ my socks a few days ago. Actually all in did was rinse them in a gallon ziplock bag a few times, but that is what ‘washing your socks’ is. I asked the Professor, “What do you profess?” He told me something about not putting paper on a toilet seat before you sit on it. I didn't really follow to well what he was professing. “Ok then, see ya down the trail,” I said and quickly moved on.

There's not a lot of water so I watch for springs and plan water breaks carefully. I make a water stop at Kosk Spring where there is ice cold water. Delicious, thank you microfilter. I also add two liters to hike the next ten miles. Two liters is four point four pounds. I need to be more careful with decisions like this. I hoof those four point four pounds seven miles without drinking a drop. The liter I drank at the spring was sufficient. So I keep hauling the four point four pounds only now I've added another three quarters of a liter in my water bottle. Again I drank a bottle of water at the source. I hike another eight miles drinking only a few swigs. This was on purpose. I need the water for dinner and breakfast as I'm dry camping here. Tomorrow I should not have any water problems as there appear to be numerous water sources every few miles.

I'm sitting on rock up on a ridge. I can see Mt Shasta. The sun is shining. Birds are singing woodpeckers are sending secret messages by pounding their heads on dead trees. Sounds a lot like Morse code to me, but the messages are obviously encrypted. They're all gibberish and I don't have the secret code they are using. They are probably saying something like, “Are there any bugs in that tree? There aren't any in this one.” Anyway, as I sit and enjoy a few minutes rest a Thru-hiker comes down the trail towards me. If I was a snake I could bite him. I say, “Howdy, how are you doing?” I might as well been talking to the rock. He stares straight ahead looking at the trail, (I get that part), and doesn't stop or say anything. I notice that he has earbuds in his ears. Perhaps he's nodding his head to the beat, or he's agreeing with whatever whomever is speaking is saying. Sometimes you just need to escape the tedium of the trail, he obviously has.

My camp is nestled in a small flat spot just off the trail. There is a trail to a water source a half mile away. I don't intend to use that water. I carried enough with me for dinner and breakfast. I'll have a little left to get me through the first couple of hours of hiking. By then I'll be at a place where I can get more. the woodpeckers have all gone home for the day. The birds are silent, not a breeze in the trees. Another quiet evening in the wild. I'm full, I'm warm. Life is good. 

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