Elevation- 6,509 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 22.7 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1892.3 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 70s
Pain level- zero
Days without shower- 2
I didn’t get on trail until around 8am, but I didn’t care. Today was going to be slow and steady in preparation of tomorrow’s birthday endeavor.
As usual, the hike itself was easy and mundane, with no shortage of gorgeous views to distract me. The day’s highlights came in the form of animals; a fish and a rodent.
While trekking around Summit lake, I noticed an awesome looking peninsula extending a couple hundred feet into the lake. I went off trail to check it out, and found it to be an irresistible spot to fish; so I pulled out my gear.
Standing on some rocks with my fly rod and bumblebee fly, I cast and popped the surface of the water a few times before I’d let it sit. I did this over and over near a large submerged rock that looked kind of fishy, and on about the 7th cast, as I was letting the fly sit, a huge trout shot up off the bottom out the shadow of the rock, paused for a split second in front of the fly, sucked it down and made back for the shadows. I waited two seconds before pulling back sharply on the rod, eliciting a bright flash beneath the water as the pressure of me setting the hook altered the fish’s trajectory, pulling him back and onto his side.
He fought hard (I’ll detail the entire thing at a later date), and it took me over two minutes to land him. As he finally gave up on the surface, I guided him towards the shore with the rod. It was a Rainbow that had to be more than 16 inches long. As I pulled him up onto the rocks, and the buoyancy of the water stopped supporting his weight, he grew heavier and the fly pulled right out of his mouth. He slid off the rock back into the shallow water where he sat dazed for a moment. I lunged to the next rock and tried crouch down quickly to grab and toss him back onto the shore, but with one twitch of his tail, he was gone. The disappointment of missing out on a sweet birthday dinner was brief. I got to enjoy the entire fight from the fish before he got away at the last moment; I won the battle, he won the war…and got to live to fight another day. It was an awesome birthday gift in itself.
The gifts for the day weren’t over though. Less than a half hour after hiking on from the peninsula, I encountered a very small chipmunk in the middle of the trail. He sat there watching me for a lot longer than the bigger ones do before bolting for their burrows or the trees. As I got about 10 feet away, he came to his senses and bolted up a pine tree on the side of the trail. The only problem…this pine tree was about 6 feet tall. He got almost to the top before he realized he was barely as high as my face. I couldn’t resist reaching out and cupping him in my hands. He didn’t bite or go crazy; only squirmed a little bit, then eyeballed me hard. I got a quick pic, then leaned down to release him. He jumped out of my hand as soon as he saw the ground getting closer; off into the bushes quicker than lightning he went. Another magical animal encounter to add to the list.
I took it nice and easy up my final climb for the day and made a nice little fire after making camp. Tomorrow is the big day; I turn 27 at midnight, and at 6am, I’m attempting a 24 hour hike to see how far I’ll get. My head is in the right place, so I’m really looking forward to it.
The cowboy camping through Oregon has been a great experience, but if there’s one thing I’ve realized I’m having a hard time with, it’s the journaling. I feel like I’m skimping on my journals. When I lay down, I’m just not comfortable in any positions that allow me to write. Not to mention, if there’s bugs, hanging out of my sleeping bag while writing on my phone is not a pleasure. So for Washington, I’m going to get my hammock back. It’s hard enough writing every night, and it’s very important to me that I do, so I’m switching back to the shelter method that makes it more convenient for me.