Day 124 and 125
Zero days in Seattle
You might think I’d rest after two zero and three nights inside. Not so, I slept maybe 20 minutes last night… So many thoughts running through my mind. Hobble-it and I got up at 3:00 a.m. to catch the bus and then the light rail to SeaTac, where we boarded a plane to Reno. From the airport we took a Lyft to Susanville, then took the local bus to Chester. At 2:15 in the afternoon, we returned to the southbound track.
And at the PCT in Washington, I’ve never experienced more than a light drizzle. Within 30 minutes of hiking in the driest state of California, rain came and greeted me. There is no package cover, sigh. I made my own sleeping mat as a blanket over the brain of my bag. At a distance of a mile I came to a backwater with the remains of a footbridge. Being wet, I left my shoes on and waded into the knee-deep water. Another half hour and the sun came up; I started to dry out.
Halfway through the formal PCT term, Hubble-It and I took a break for dinner. It is amusing to have another great feat within five days of arriving in Canada; Strange year for sure! Do you remember how thoughts kept me awake last night? I realized he was worried about life after the trip… feeling forgotten by the community I left behind. It helped me to share my feelings with Hobble-it.
After 15.5 miles, the last two in the dark, I listened to my body and stopped at the intersection of Little Cub Spring. stumble continued; Intent on hiking 20 miles. There was another tent nearby, so I carefully aimed my headlights as I set up my lights. When I got settled, two more hikers arrived and pitched a tent. I let go of the rain fly and stared at a field of stars.
What a great night’s sleep! After breakfast, I left my bag in my tent and walked 1 km back and forth to Little Cub Spring. It was a clear stream that suddenly emerged from the bottom of a dry stream. The campsite had actual trees everywhere, but I soon returned to the burn area. I listened to podcasts and took a coffee break late in the morning.
Shortly after crossing Frog Mountain, I found a sign indicating the gap between the Sierra and Cascade Ranges. This was done in a nice way, with each side welcoming the wanderer to their new territory. Side said: “Welcome to the Sierra Nevada” and referred to the band as a convert (the Calaveras composition). Behind me was the volcanic (andesite) Cascade Mountains.
I had hoped to have a good time in the long slip to the Feather; However, the track was almost entirely loose rock. My socks felt like sandpaper after getting wet yesterday and slowly drying on my feet. I rested, and found a cool stream to wash my feet and legs, and then put on clean socks. It helped, although the impact was starting to bother my left foot.
Over the course of the entire day, I encountered three NOBOs and no other SOBOs. I had nearly constant cell service, so I texted and talked to my family. There were a lot of exciting things going on in Montana. After 29 miles, I camped near a horse trail and on the North Fork of the Feather River. It was a pleasantly smooth sandy patch.
The day started with a climb of 4,380 feet and ended up being my longest day yet, 33.6 miles. Although I got up early, that meant walking for an hour or two at night. Again, I didn’t catch Hobble-it, as I did on a similar day.
I’m starting to feel lonely. This made me more talkative than usual. At the top of the hill, I stopped to chat with three NOBO hikers. The latter warned Al of an 83% chance of rain in two days. As I was about to break for lunch, I met two two-day hikers on their way to Spanish Peak. We all had one thing in common in Boulder City, CO. One man had read Wild and A Walk in the Woods, yet he had never met a wanderer in person. As we walked, he showered me with questions.
My loneliness melted into the sunlight and the beauty of my surroundings. I looked down at Silver Lake, which was shaped like an amoeba and dotted with an island. Shortly after meeting the bow hunter, I saw a four-pointed elk leaping away, then stopped to exchange a glance. I was started and drawn to the wonderful novel “Babylon” by R.F. Quang. It was a long but good day, and I camped by a flowing creek.
When I got up from the morning hut, I heard a noise from above. I looked up to see an owl staring at me curiously. He flew one tree away and continued to stare with his big black eyes. Then he nodded in the totally adorable way that owls do. A flapping of wings, a second owl perched in another tree to my left. He looked like the first, except with whiter feet. I hung with them for a bit before continuing to hike. I later realized I was wearing Darn Tough Socks during the encounter.
The day started and remained cloudy. Early on, I crossed a high bridge over the Middle Fork of Feather River. From afar, the river was as smooth as a mirror, while at hand a field of boulders cut through the flow into shallow white waters. On the next climb, I saw two giant banana slugs.
All morning I had a trail to myself, though when I finished my lunch with a view, Snobo walked by. This year, Snobo means the wanderer who finished the desert and then turned to the Canadian border to walk south. Her name was Samar. I did not see her again until the end of the day, when I had camped near her in a wooded place.
I woke up to a light rain on my tent, but it was over when I got out. This made me believe that warnings of the remnants of Hurricane Hillary were not in vain. Then it rained for five or six hours. my jacket gets wet quickly; Fortunately, I had left my fleece on, and though it was damp, it trapped a pocket of warmth against my sun hoodie. Still, I was cold, especially when the wind hit me on the hills. I started walking quickly up and down. Once, I almost pitched my tent, but I kept the image of a dry room at the Sierra City Hotel in my mind. When I got a chance to eat from my snack bag, my fingers had a hard time gripping the food.
Towards noon I had a strong urge to dig a hole, and intended to ignore it on account of the rain. Suddenly a camp appears, and in the distance… a basement toilet! I was there, and after using it, I took a shower for about half an hour. It was nice to be out of the wind. I put ProBar in my snack bag. FarOut tells me I’ve done 15.5 miles and only have 13 miles left. I peeked outside a few times and took off when the rain stopped.
In the afternoon, the sun came out every now and then. And the rain did not return. It was straight up the hill from the campground and I loved it; I got ready. I wear babel and slowly dried. The last three miles down Highway 49 were excruciating, with my left foot aching with every step. On the road, I got my first solo hitch in a matter of seconds, from two guys who had recently started a bed and breakfast.
Hobble picked up our boxes and got us a room at the Old Sierra City Hotel, which is a great place for hikers. We talked for three or four hours, talking about the road and Babylon. Then I took a hot shower and climbed into the soft and comfortable bed.