Date- June 29, 2019
Location- Gooseberry Ranger Cabin
Elevation- 5,308 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 20 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 156.8 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 60s
Injuries- Sore tendon in left foot
Pain level- low
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 3
Days without laundry- 3
I was once again about an hour behind everyone else leaving camp. First thing – 50 yards from the campsite, you had to ford about 20 yards of an icy cold knee-deep creek. There, now you’re awake! After that it was green tunnel and burn zones.
The terrain was very mild today, offering very little resistance. Climbs were graded, and most of the time the trail was heading gently downhill. With the easy trail, gorgeous weather, and comfortable temperatures – it was a fine day to get lost in.
I finished listening to a book I’d started a couple days ago; “Mediations” – by Marcus Aurelius. Yes, the Marcus Aurelius from ancient Rome. It was an interesting read, certainly dated throughout some parts and a little repetitive at times – but there was wisdom to be gleaned from it. I was definitely able to take a few good bricks of information and plug them into my perpetually growing and unfinished wall… that represents my completeness/incompleteness as a human being.
I’ve only begun listening to audio books in the last 3 years. Being an avid hiker and traveler, I am able to sometimes get through a book a day if my attention span and focus is up to the task. For most of my life I have only read for pleasure and entertainment; stories and tales that would take me away to far off places and times. Now that my real life is reflecting more of the story book lives I used to obsess over, I’ve began reading more for knowledge, wisdom, information, as well as personal and spiritual growth. I can’t get enough of the positive benefits I’ve been experiencing through this type of reading. The nearly unlimited free time to listen to books that is afforded by long distance hiking is mind numbing. Some of the stuff I end up listening to is pretty dry, but some of the information is life altering. For instance, during my Florida Trail thru-hike earlier this winter I listened to Thomas Sowell’s continually updated book, “Basic Economics.” Wow! Talk about a life changing read that will alter the way you look at the world and the ways in which it currently works and has worked. There is a quote from it that I find incredibly powerful and true… “We should spend more time educating the obvious, rather than investigating the obscure.” The average world citizen (including myself), even the very intelligent ones, are for the most part living in ignorance of a lot of very basic principles that govern our lives – most of which we will go our entire lives without ever knowing about, or understanding. But alas, the obscure is just too tantalizing to not investigate 😉
Now, getting back to the day at hand – there were no animals, but lots of animal poo! Mostly bear and moose, but I still have yet to see any through this section. Fingers still crossed.
I was a little depressed to hike through a large burnt section I’d camped in back in 2017… when it wasn’t burned. Remembering what it had been versus what it had become was very sobering and sad. This was the first time I’ve experienced that on a long trail – to have memory of a place before it was destroyed and then revisit it after the destruction. It will be decades before it returns to its former glory.
I caught up to Jetpack around mile 13 of the day and we hiked the last 7 miles to an old back country forest service cabin that was built in the mid 1930’s. Here we met up with Dale, as well as three other southbound thru- hikers named Sid, Gator, and Leper. In addition to them, there were a couple of forest service workers named Christa and Emily, who were doing trail maintenance in the area.
We all hung out around the cabin for a couple hours eating and talking. It was still early enough that Dale and I went swimming in the Middle Fork Flathead River that flowed by the cabin.
All in all it was a beautifully easy and leisurely day. We’ll be going up a large pass tomorrow, but the weather should be perfect. We’ll see what the day holds…