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Tomorrow is my birthday so I had my heart set on finding a special campsite this evening. I wanted to wake up in a beautiful place.
Rain on and off all day. Not as cold as a few days ago when I got so chilled, but I still I had to keep moving to stay warm. No side trails or lingering. I kept my head down, umbrella blocking my view like blinders, not seeing much besides the trail ahead. Regressing back into the mindset of hiking only to get the miles done. It took a conscious effort to not get stuck in the drudgery of slogging along in the dreariness. One might think there is not much to see in the grayness, in the monotonous pine forest, but it just takes more imagination to appreciate the shades of gray, to notice the small things- the tufts of lichen, the shapes of rotting logs, the scampering chipmunks. I could also decide to enjoy the movement along the trail, to feel the strength in my legs, to listen to the rhythm of my breath and footsteps. Deciding to be happy in the rain. Soon, I was cruising along and still savoring the experience.
|Seeing beauty in the little things.|
Weighed down with water for a dry camp and tired from the long day already, still, I felt my pace quicken- gotta get somewhere good before fading light- which is getting earlier since it's well into autumn now. The legs responded with strength- they weren't tired they were moving. Go go go. Up up up.
Crossing the ridge over North Stover Mountain, the snow-covered peak of Lassen was visible in the distance. Ah a view after so many view-less miles! I followed the trail along the hillside across steep volcanic slopes. It was one of the (many) times I was especially glad to have a hammock because there weren't flat spots but boy were there gorgeous trees. I scurried up above a rock outcrop to a grove of huge firs.
|Distant view of Lassen.|