Location- Side of mountain
Elevation- 5,833 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 23.6 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,549.8 miles
Weather/Temp- partly cloudy 70s 60s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 5
The days keep getting better. When I thought I might freeze and wake up in fog this morning, instead it was just the opposite. The night was pleasant and calm, with not a drop of moisture in the air, or on the ground this morning; mind blown.
The trail was again stunning; gradual, smoothe, with open stretches here and there. Still, the entire 23 mile day consisted of a single giant descent, right off the bat, then a single giant ascent that I camped just on the far side of.
One word to describe today would be peaceful. I caught a red garter snake while hiking in the vicinity of another hiker, and they took a picture for me.
The most non peaceful, comical part of the day came early in the morning. I was on a descent that was gradually switchbacking down, surrounded by grass and small vegetation, no trees, when Katana spooked up a grouse (delicious) ahead of me. The bird took off like a missile straight at me, but slightly to the side. I reacted on pure reflex, quickly swinging my staff at the grouse in a downward, diagonal motion. I was not quick enough, nor even prepared for that kind of quick, violent movement, so when I missed (grazing tail feathers), the momentum of my swing, plus the awkward weight of my pack, plus the angle of the trail caused me to lose my balance, stumble of the trail, slip on the grass, fall, then roll about 12 feet down the decline, coming to a stop on my shoulder in an awkward forward leaning position. I felt like a flipped turtle for a few moments as I tried to regain my feet. Immediately I regretted swinging for the grouse. This was karma telling me to “cool it.” Point taken! One with nature, no more upsetting the balance of harmony.
After finishing the large and only climb of the day, I descended a few hundred feet and made camp on the edge of a Meadow that had a huge buck deer grazing on the far side. I didn’t get a picture before he disappeared into the pines.
Once again I’m camped at a high altitude, but I have no disillusions about the weather tonight. It was a gorgeous day, but it’s already very cold, and I can see the fog rolling down the mountains already. I don’t know what tomorrow will be, but tonight will be wet and cold whether it rains or not.
Tomorrow I’ve got 20 miles of down hill and mostly flat hiking to reach my final town of the trail, Stehican. Supposedly it’s the most remote town in the lower 48 states; only accessible by sea plane, boat, or on foot. I’m starving and anxious to get there for my new shoes and some fresh food.
Funny enough, I’m exactly 100 miles from the Canadian border from where I’m encamped right now. The final 100. Hard to believe.