Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trees, Bugs, Cuts, Splinters, a Snake, and a Bear

Day 70-June 22nd
Destination: MM 1458ish
Miles: 19
Cumulative Miles: 903.5

What a hard day.

There are a few hard things about hiking in a forest. First of all, all the trees block the view. Seldom does a hiker get to look back and marvel at the distance they have covered. Yet today, a few times early on, we had great glimpses of endless tree covered hills, and later in the day, we had climbed to an elevation and location relatively free of trees, thus resulting in a very scenic panoramic of the mountains to the south and at times Mt. Shasta to the north.

The next hard thing about walking through a forest is the potential for blown down trees. And while the trail crews have been out working to fix that in this section, there still have been hundreds of blow downs, slowing our progress. It's not just the fact that we are slowed down, it's that dealing with the trees is very tiring. When we hike, we get in a rhythm, and if something interrupts the rhythm, our bodies get tired.

That was the case today when Apricots was stepping around a downed tree and miscalculated, thus scraping her knee causing blood to flow. Also climbing over trees can cause splinters. Psycho got a splinter in his finger that made it painful to use the trekking pole, so we had to stop to pull it out, just 15 minutes after cleaning the cut on Apricots. All while dealing with both of these incidences, we were swarmed by countless varieties of loud biting insects.

Speaking of insects, this morning we started our hike by climbing up Centipede Gulch. Moments after we both simultaneously said "Centipede Gulch," we passed two centipedes on the trail; one dining on the other. Later in the day, we passed a large gopher snake on the trail.

Just prior to reaching our camp, five miles shy of our goal, we entered a wasteland of trees. The wooden graveyard was littered with endless piles of sticks, twigs, branches, limbs, and bodies of those who starved after not packing enough food to make it through these blowdowns. While sitting among the hundreds of topless trees, Apricots noticed a bear fifty yards away. Before Psycho had a chance to snap a picture, Apricots made a noise in an attempt to scare the bear. He quickly fleed the scene.

We hiked the final two miles to camp and had dinner as the blue grey sky turned pink and purple. We have now passed the 900 mile mark, and are 1/3 of the way done with the trail.

On a side note:

Section O is ridiculously overgrown in places, often lending itself to bush whacking through shoulder high and higher vegetation. It is also a sunglasses vortex, as we passed a pair on the first day and the second day, and lost a pair on the third day.
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1 comment:

  1. WooHoo...that equals having completed one-third of the trail. A bear...noise is good. I remember Jille saying that when she worked in Yellowstone, she was advised that noise scared them away. Still, seeing a bear, out in his habitat must have been quite exhilarating.

    Too bad about so many trees creating a slow down in your hike. I'm sure much more energy is expended to make your way through or around those trees. The Wooden Graveyard...now that is a good line....

    Well, you two journey on in safety and maybe before too many moons, you will cross paths with others on the same sojourn as you.

    Blessings and love...xo