2070 (Miller Trail Junction) to 2052 (Trooper Spring)
More soft gradual trail. How can the PCT be so kind and gentle and flat? It finally makes sense how thru-hikers can do 30 mile days here. I think about my hiking group back in Georgia- the Trail Dames- and how this would make an ideal trip for beginning backpackers. I can almost hear their laughter echoing through these hills.
For me though, I miss the climbs, the challenge. Is it really backpacking if I don't break a sweat or get my heart rate up? Am I having a worthwhile experience if I'm just floating along? What is the trail teaching me today? Yellow and red maples glow in the sun. The sky continues to be blue but now there are a few white puffy things up there floating around. Weather looks like it will be changing soon.
|Pathfinder walking through the maples.|
|Soaking in the sun at a powerline cut|
Today is my birthday so I think birthday thoughts about where I am in my life and what it means to be approaching 40. Thank goodness I still have another year in my 30's because what does 40 mean? Will I have to start acting my age? Does that mean quitting hanging upside-down from random ladder things or swimming across nearly-freezing lakes? Will I have to go back to having responsibilities and quit living a free life? What if I like being free of debt, free of a mortgage or lease, free of pets or even a garden? Or is my time getting shorter, the eventuality of death more real, so I should pack in even more backpacking, more adventure, while I still can? More importantly, I wonder about what I have to show for myself for my life's accomplishments? Have I made any sort of difference in the world? I told Monarch I used to do scientific research and she asked me what my research showed. When I told her, the answer seemed so pitifully small and unimportant so I told her about teaching and mentoring students and joining AmeriCorps to do conservation education at a state park.
Then again, sometimes it feels like the biggest impacts we can have are the small ways we bring brightness to our coworkers and friends and the chance people we meet along the way.
I try not to get nervous about what will happen when I get off the trail. Will I find a job that is challenging and rewarding? Please let it not be a flat easy cruiser miles job. At least I haven't left the world a worse place. Like it is enough to follow Leave No Trace and not do anything really harmful to anything or anyone? No real or metaphorical toilet paper left lying around in the woods- nope I pack it out and bury my poop.
Trooper Springs has a sweet campsite nearby and I bushwhack around to find a sheltered spot in dense trees out of the wind. We are at camp early so there is plenty of time to repair some holes with the additional thread I picked up courtesy of Timberline Lodge. This is another result of my No New Gear experiment- most everything is threadbare and falling apart, and sewing it back together is a regular camp chore.
|Mending a hole in my shirt. Photo by Pathfinder.|
Pathfinder gives me her chocolate pudding as a special birthday treat and I savor the chocolaty-goodness in a plastic bag of wonderfulness. We wander into the meadow to watch the sunset glow pink and purple and life stands still in a moment of pure joy and appreciation for everything-- this day, this hike, all the opportunities I have had my entire life, all the people I have loved and all the friends I have had. It all seems too wonderful to comprehend.
|Watching the sunset at Trooper Springs.|