Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Day 115 : Real Forest and Funhog's Trail Magic

26 miles today 
455 miles to go

I wake up and it's starting to get light. I don't want to get up. This feels so warm and comfortable. If I get up it means more walking today. If I just stay here… Pfffssssssssssss… I can't stay here, I want to go home, after I finish the whole trail. Breakfast in the semi-darkness, again. Same breakfast, again. I actually like my granola, so I'm not complaining, just stating the obvious. I put on my dirty socks and gaiters. Yep, that's normal. I only get clean socks every week or so. This isn't clean sock week. I get out of my tent and eat another peach. One left, I'll eat it for lunch. I pack my stuff and make a few changes. My peanut butter goes in the pocket where my water bottle usually goes. I put my water bottle and microfilter in the upper pocket where my electronic stuff usually goes. I put the electronic stuff inside my pack. Why, hey let's change it up and make it an exciting day, besides, peanut butter is heavy. 

More of the same type of trail. Woodlands trail. Lower elevations too dense to see anything except my immediate surroundings. I tire of this hiking. It seems to be the same view hour after hour. I want to see mountains. I want to see stuff out to the horizon. Nope, more trees, rocks, plants. This hike is harder mentally than I thought it would be. I have elected not to listen to music, audiobooks, or anything that would distract me from the hike itself. This has been true since the beginning. It's been easy up to now. Now it's so much of the same thing that a story or some music would make the time pass more quickly. Very tempting. I want to experience the full hike and for me that means, no audio distractions. This seems like a questionable idea right now.

I come to Panther Creek after ten miles or so. It seems that others that once were ahead of me are popping out of the trail to get water too. I refill my water and cross the bridge. I immediately notice a change. The trail no longer seems to be aimlessly wandering through the woods. We are now climbing with purpose. Switchbacks like California, back and forth, up I climb. The determination of the trail is exciting. I can tell that I am going somewhere, no longer aimlessly meandering. We are going up! I climb back and forth up the hill. The switchbacks trace from one side to the other. Always up at the same pitch. Climbing higher and higher. I can't see anything except the trees around me and I can tell they are changing. I climb and climb, for hours I climb. I climb up and over and it's done. I stop climbing, just like that the climb is over. I land on a little open knoll. There in front of me is Mt Adams. Perfectly framed by the opening in the trees. A perfect spot for a picture, which I take. Then it's back into the trees, not down! I am on some sort of higher plane, plateau, covered in trees. Real forest, open and airy, blue sky visible. The trail passes through this forest seems to be aiming somewhat close to Mt Adams. I follow the trail on and on. I'm getting tired and my feet are starting to hurt. I am ready to camp. I stop at a spring where I find a bunch of Thru-hikers eating. Digger, Frost, Morning Glory, Windy, Dingo, and a couple of others. I go down to the spring and get a liter of water. I drink it all. There's a piped spring in a few miles where I can get more, enough to camp. I head there. The trail is following what seems to be an ancient lava flow. It's rocky and jagged. No places to camp. I get water for camping at the piped spring. Cold clear water. Now all I need is a camp. The horse camp is only a few more miles, worst case I have to walk there. I'll camp at a horse camp. I doubt there are any horses there mid week.
On and on the lava goes, I'm wondering what this camp is going to be like. I come around a corner out of the lava and there's a picnic table. I made it to the camp. There's an outhouse too. No sign of horses just some really nice camping spots. Then I notice a couple of hiker sitting with an ice chest. Trail Magic? Yes, trail magic! Funhog is here and brought all kinds of goodies. I sit down with Dingo as the southbounder takes her leave. Wow, grapes, chicken, carrots and dip, Oreo cookies, cans of frosting. I put frosting on an Oreo, wow, I'll have another, and another. Chicken too! More grapes, I eat haphazardly as we sit and chat with Funhog. More thru-hikers show up. Windy, Morning Glory, then more. I stand up and move to make room for others. We’re like ants when it comes to trail magic. We gather round and seem unable to pull ourselves away. I force myself to go to my camp and set up my tent. Then I sit at my table and make my dinner. As I do another hiker walk by and stops at Funhog’s trail magic. Some eventually move on, others camp close by. I finish my dinner and climb into my tent. Funhog really made this a special ending to a physically difficult day. Thanks Funhog. I fall asleep quickly, I am worn out and tired.

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