Date- July 5, 2019
Location- Flesher Pass
Elevation- 6,161 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 13.7 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 284.2
Weather/Temp- 60s, scattered clouds, drizzle
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- rodents
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 0
If you would have asked me last night, I would have told you I wasn’t going to hike today. Surprise!
I actually felt pretty good this morning considering my rough day yesterday, as well as the late night. But after a morning of serious hydrating and a hearty breakfast of corned beef hash with Dale, Jetpack, Sid, and another male hiker named Salty – I was kinda good to go.
After some resupply, laundry, and lunch – Jetpack, Salty, and I all caught a ride back to trail with a local trail angel named Gary. Dale and Sid had hitched back to trail a couple hours earlier, but we were all planning to meet at a spot called Flesher Pass about 14ish miles from the trailhead at Rogers Pass.
It was around 2:30 pm by the time we started hiking the 1,200 ft climb out of the pass and onto the barren ridge-line. No sooner did the climb start, I could hear thunder rolling in the not so far distance. Jetpack and Salty continued on while I filtered some water about halfway up the climb. Then I sat down and checked a weather radar app since I still had service. The radar showed several storm cells headed right for the ridge we were about to ascend. I decided to sit tight in the trees and watch the radar and the storms in real time for a bit. For 45 minutes I sat and waited, busying myself with memorizing poems and song lyrics I wanted to commit to heart.
It certainly rained a bit, but it hardly touched me down in the conifers. Once the storms had all but passed over, and the radar looked clear… I resumed the climb and broke through onto the ridge. It was well after 3 pm and the ridge-line was soaked. The coolest part of it all was that the storms were still just barely in front of me, moving very slowly in my same direction. For nearly 2 hours I was literally walking with/behind the storms without getting wet. I can’t say I remember ever doing that in such a deliberate and obvious fashion. The storms were moving so excruciatingly slow, it really felt as if I were walking them down the trail.
I’d forgotten how gorgeous this stretch of trail was out of Lincoln. Nonstop views in every direction as the trail followed the snaking spine of the ridge-line almost perfectly for 7 miles.
I took my time and listened to some music. When I have more or less leisurely hiking stretches with gorgeously epic views, I tend to like to listen to very dreamy love songs. Maybe that’s weird, but it feels transcendent to me and tends to amplify any emotions or feelings that the present views or situation evokes. It’s unbelievably visceral.
I just kept them coming as I traversed the ridge: “Wicked Game,” by Chris Isaak; “Fade Into You,” by Mazzy Star; “The Only Exception,” by Paramore. Then, for good measure, I threw in “Goodnight Saigon,” by Billy Joel to really get the feels going and the tear ducts working for no good reason. There’s just something so uplifting and freeing about having emotions drawn out of you uncontrollably, like a serum from a vial. Like a bag of sand was resting on your chest, but someone or something has punctured it, and now the weight is slowly draining away. I love it. And I love being able to do it to myself almost at will. It’s as close as you can get to an out of body experience without dying or taking drugs – in my humble opinion.
I finished up the small miles to Flesher Pass around 9 pm and met up with my fellow hikers. The skies looked friendly, so I decided to cowboy camp in the grass of the pass. This means I threw down a groundsheet, my sleeping pad, and then myself – nothing else. No shelter, no nothing. It’s the purest way to sleep outside, as well as the most exposed. I try to do it as much as possible, but only when fair weather seems all but guaranteed. I look forward to a lot more if it throughout this hike, if all this rain will take a break…
Looking to stomp out a big day tomorrow. We’ll see what happens…
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