Happy Birthday Hemlock!
Camped at PCT Mile Marker 2052.5, Trooper Spring
Miles hiked today: 17.6
Today was a day of forest walking – lovely but pretty uneventful as far as views are concerned. A brief glimpse of Mt Jefferson and 3 Fingered Jack in the hazy distance in a brief burn area, and that was pretty much it. It is nice to see what I’m hiking towards, but I figure you gotta have the days like today to really appreciate the grand epic days even more. This morning in the chill air Hemlock and I were both glad to find a sunny break spot, even if it was under some power lines in a clear cut area. The buzz buzz sound soon faded in the background, and day quickly warmed up from there.
At our late morning water source (the inaccurately named Warm Spring River – the water was ice cold and it was a creek at most) we met a solo thru hiker named Monarch. As we had a longer sustained climb after the river, Hemlock hiked on ahead with Monarch, and I was glad she had some company. I could hear their voices echo down the switchbacks, which was neat.
I ended up taking a break with Monarch, so was able to chat with her too. The climbing was nice and gradual, and I was happy I was able to stick to my 2mph pace (for the most part) – ahh, PCT grade I do appreciate you. The flying gnats that are still about (they bite but they don’t look like mosquitos?) swarm unpleasantly at times, but the real annoyance today was that I got my second bee sting of the trip. :(. At least it is on my right leg (first was on my left) so the legs can complain equally now! I wasn’t really paying attention as I was talking with Monarch about the joys and literal pains of thru hiking, and essentially trapped a bee between my hand and leg as I was sitting cross legged eating second lunch. Ouch! It retaliated in quite effective format. I was a bit grouchy for the rest of the hike this afternoon, but it went by quickly enough.
Hemlock’s birthday is today, and we were treated to a beautiful sunset across the meadows here at camp. Some gorgeous pink, gold, and salmon colors etched across the sky and the gathering clouds. Trooper Spring here is an interesting water source – a deep but clear pool with some funk and pine needles on the surface but delightful all the same. At some point a “dock” was built to allow access to the deeper part more easily.
After arriving so early (a bit before 5pm), we leisurely set up camp, talking with some NOBOs as they arrived and then left, and ate dinner. We had a great non-campfire discussion around the fire ring until the late hour of 7:50pm! Oh, and I may have contributed some birthday pudding in there as well :).
Hikers met: Monarch – SOBO flip flopper (she hiked north to Crater Lake then flipped up to Canada and has been hiking south back to CL. 2 SOBOs from Australia, and then in camp (they came to get water but left) – a NOBO thru hiker group of 3 guys and 1 gal, then another older guy arrived. They looked so tired and done. My guess for the # of folks we’d see today was 6, Hemlocks was 15. At 8, I win!
Gear minutiae: I lost my sole hair band 😦 though I hope to find it when it’s light out tomorrow morning. I chose beige thread for sewing the holes in the shorties tonight. 4-5 more days of hiking, it can last that long!! The silk hiking tights, on the other hand, are pretty much done for.
Health update: chafing, bites, sting, and cough – oh, and an odd sort of bruised feeling in my right inner ankle that started yesterday or the day before. A record night of pill taking – Allegra, ibuprofen, and Benadryl. Ahh, and yes I do this to myself voluntarily.