PCT mile 1841.5 to Oregon Skyline Trail mile 2.0 (36.2)
As I was nearing sleep last night, the distant sound of minor branches breaking kept shooting electric charges through my body. Damn all the talk of bears and mountain lions and wolves. My daylight courage was waning. Dark is the time of irrational fears.
I put in my earplugs and slept aggressively.
When I did wake in the night, it was to the unexpected sound of heavy rain on my tent. I fixed my vestibule for rain and hooked up the corners of my tyvek so that it made a bathtub floor. As soon as I was done, the rain petered out.
It drizzled again in the morning as I packed up. When I hit the trail it was dry and patches of blue shone overhead. A few minutes from the dense woods where I camped, the forest thinned out and so did the bugs. It would be a pleasant morning after all.
I felt great. I dreamed about the little home Pat and I would make in Ashland. I thought about why I am still hiking this trail and felt how much I love being out in the woods alone, moving through obstacles like blowdowns and rain and mosquitos, trusting my body to cover 30 miles a day.
Sun hit me at midday. The mosquitos were back out. I threw my long johns on to keep them off the backs of my legs. I cruised along the trail. Take no breaks, get no bites.
There was no water north of Thielson Creek until I got on the Oregon Skyline Trail, so I rationed what I had and got used to being thirsty. I skipped Six Horse Spring and its steep half-mile side trail. The Skyline Trail was close and water was more abundant. I could make it to the first lake.
When I turned off the dirt road to the Skyline Trail, there was a slow creek right there. The water was sort of stagnant, but clear, so I gathered it and made camp soon after. The mosquitos swarmed as usual.
I like to imagine when I’ll look back fondly at this trail and the mosquitos will be just a small and insignificant detail.