Destination: MM 1305ish
Cumulative Miles: 1056.5
Snow, bugs, and downed trees really take it out of you.
We rose early to ensure that we made adequate mileage today. We have food enough to last us this leg, provided we aren't slowed too drastically by obstacles. Today's obstacles slowed us down a bit, but not too much.
Starting at the snow line, we climbed roughly 1000 feet, skirting the top of Butt Mountain, before following the ridge south of the mountain. The snow, fortunately, was patchy lending itself to easy trail finding. As we regrouped with Old Scout and Compass we navigated our way through the only difficult snow patch of the day, approximately one mile with no signs of the trail.
After dropping down to a lower ridge most of the snow had cleared, and we were walking along a ridge with stunning views, and brilliant wildflowers. We met a new species of flower today which had tiny needle like purple petals, bunched densely with multiple bunches. The long flat leaves twisted outward like the tentacles of an octopus.
The hillside was covered in volcanic looking rock which had multiple round knots bulging out of it's surface. The towering rock pinnacles looked like a ghost of a breeze would cause them to come crashing down upon our trail which wandered below the rock spires.
Around lunch we left the scenic ridge and walked back into a viewless forest ripe with blowdowns and snow patches. When we weren't using our muscles to drunkenly walk across the snow, we were using our concentration to avoid the countless sticks strewn about. Stepping over downed trees, we had to cautiously lift our legs to waist height at times, carefully placing the feet on the other side. At times the soil would give way, or we would step on a stick that rolled, stealing our footing. Twice today Psycho stepped on sticks which vaulted up into his legs scraping the inside of his thigh and his knee, drawing blood like some sort of offering to the trail.
When a trail is "viewless" we must find beauty elsewhere. We find light hitting trees, highlighting the moss like a neon strip light down the edge of the tree. Apricots noticed that the moss always stopped shy of the ground several feet, and reasonably concluded that the moss probably grows down to the average snow line. We find unique trees, and padded trails to comfort us when we can't look far into the horizon. We must see the forest for the trees, lest we grow bored.
In the evening we slogged across some muddy areas where the mosquitoes were nearing full tilt, and so we had to move quickly to limit the loss of vital fluids to whining insects. Tired, we stopped shy of our goal by one mile.
Sixteen miles to Belden...we can do it.
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