Mile 2279.8-2306.1 (26.3)
Dragged myself out of bed at hiker noon (7am). Town food, my usual motivator, wasn’t calling to me. My food bag is still heavy and my appetite is down. I crave salty and savory flavors. Vegetables. Red meat.
It was a chilly morning. I seemed to walk into a light mist that clung to the tree tops above me and gathered in the valley below. I was thirsty, since I didn’t drink any of the water with the swimmers in it from the pond. A small stream appeared, and two French women caught up to me.
A mile later, I started climbing. I came upon a deer with little antlers sprouting out of its head. It didn’t startle, just seemed curious. It turned to run, then looked back at me, turned again and stared at me. I talked to it for a while, then gently shooed it away so I could pass. This type of interaction with deer has happened many times now. I wonder if they are curious about my food or my smell.
The climb brought me up to a pretty ridge with another impressive view of Mt. Rainier. On the other side was a glittering lake and more mountains. I could have stayed up there forever. I lingered, talked to day hikers and a section hiker, made my way along the ridge slowly. I wasn’t in any rush. I thought about when I would bring Pat up here, how much he would love it.
I got my giant resupply box (what was I thinking!) and a coffee and sat down to charge my phone and try to eat down my resupply. McGuyver, Flyy, Grey Squirrel, two southbounders and I took over one side of the gas station store. The two French section hikers appeared and I asked them if I could take a shower in their room. They very graciously handed over the key and I scrubbed a week’s worth of dirt and sweat and grime off. I felt so much better afterward.
Back to the trail around 3pm, hoping to get some more miles in. Dozens of horses and their riders were in the trail. Every five minutes I stepped aside to let a train of 2-6 horses by. So much horse shit.
Afternoon’s miles blended together: flat, forested, pretty lakes and murky ponds. I found a nice campsite by the Bumping River. A hunter and his dog made a fire nearby. There is a little meadow tucked in between the hillsides next to the river, tall trees scattered about. So lovely, so peaceful.