Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 173- Finding that spot

Day 173, 9/28/14
1316 to 1342
26 miles

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.
Passed the monument for the PCT halfway point. It's not as meaningful to me now that I'm a section hiker, and on the two-year plan. It doesn't feel like I'm halfway to anywhere.
PCT-Midpoint marker.
In the late afternoon, I filled up on water at Stover Camp, the last water for a while, and set out to find a campsite. There were hunters at Stover so I wanted to get well beyond them. Then, there were logging roads so I thought I'd keep going. Then, it was boring logged-out manzanita land. By 'hiker logic' there had to be something better around the bend or over the next mountain.

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.
The rain clouds once again were swirling and making for a dramatic sunset. Going the extra miles to find this campsite was definitely worth it! I made up for some of the monotony of the day by soaking it all in- sitting and really watching and looking. Perfect Birthday-eve.

1 comment:

  1. You're still halfway to being done with the PCT even if it's a two year plan! That's something to celebrate. (I'm on the maybe-never plan, and I still think what I've done is great!) Will you keep going as long as the weather holds out?