Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back to the Trail!

Does this count as being
"above treeline"? =)
August 5: The next section of trail was long enough between road crossings that I'd have to spent at least one night in the woods. Rather than have Amanda camp out in a motel without me, we decided she should go ahead and head home. I was starting to get close enough to Seattle that it would be faster and less hassle for her just to drive out from Seattle to visit rather than flying out and renting a car. So we made plans to parts ways--for now. But she'd go back home to Seattle then drive down and meet me in Ashland four days hence. After Ashland, there were a lot of major road crossings that would allow a much greater degree of slackpacking each day.

So I harvested my crops on FarmVille, packed my backpack, ate lunch at Taco Bell, called Wassamatta_u to harass him and use up more minutes on my cell phone, and finally went back up to Etna Summit to continue hiking.

For the first mile or so, Amanda would join me. She wanted to do miles for the Hike-a-Thon, by golly, and there was a perfectly good trail right there! We left an ice chest with cold drinks and snacks by the trailhead for any hikers who might arrive while we were hiking. We should have left it when Amanda first picked me up but we didn't think to do so at the time.

From Etna Summit, the trail climbed steadily back to the top of the mountain ridges. Although the slope wasn't particularly bad, Amanda wasn't used to them and went up slowly. I let her go ahead of me to set the pace. =) I encouraged her to give naked hiking a try, but she'd have none of that. "It's not so bad," I insisted.

"Fine, you go for it," she told me. *shrug*

The trail climbed steadily upwards from
Etna Summit, but it wasn't steep.
After about a mile, the trail climbed high enough to get out of the trees and to some normally spectacular views. By most people's standards, the view is spectacular, but I'd been seeing so many spectacular views, I found it a bit humdrum. It was a nice view, but we weren't on the highest ridges yet where the 360-degree views could be found. Still, a solid 200 degree view was nothing to sneeze at.

We took photos, said our goodbyes, and parted ways. Amanda back to the car and Seattle. Me, pushing closer and closer to Seattle via foot.

Late in the afternoon, while stopped for a snack break, Stick caught up with me and thanked me for the trail magic back at the trailhead. I admitted that was mostly Amanda's work, but glad at least one person could enjoy the unexpected surprise. =)

I also found another note left by Charmin for Hasty. I wasn't surprised that Charmin was ahead of me--she was ahead of me almost as soon as I went down from Etna Summit two days before--but I was surprised that Hasty hadn't caught up with her yet. In fact, he hadn't even passed me yet, and I just took a day and a half off the trail. How far back was he anyhow?

At the end of the day, I camped a short ways off on a side trail. The official PCT went through a thick pack of trees on the side of a slope and I was concerned bugs could be bad and wanted a more exposed place to camp. I followed the Kidder Lake Trail--which used to be the official PCT until a reroute moved it on its current path--up to an exposed ridge where I set up camp overlooking a large lake. There were a few bugs around, but the breeze kept the worst of them at bay. And watching the sunset from the top was awesome! Much better than camping among the trees.

Another day, another mountain range...

The Marble Mountain Wilderness is amazing!
Even if the light is bad in this photo...
I decided to set up camp right next to this tree.
Sunset from camp! =)
I found this little fellow trying to crawl
into bed with me! =)


Anonymous said...

Liked that little bed bug. Did Amanda spend any nights out on the trail with you?


Ryan said...

No, she didn't spend any nights on the trail with me. She was too smart for that. ;o)

-- Ryan

Sue KuKu said...

Such a cool campsite (except for the bug!)

OK, spill: Why is Hasty not hiking with Charmin? I know you let us know you never see her again but do you know why they are not hiking together at this point?

Inquiring minds want to know!


Ryan said...

I'm not sure why they were hiking apart--just that it was clear it was only a temporary situation and she expected him to catch up soon. She did say something about his foot hurting him, so maybe that had something to do with it? But I don't really know the answer to that question. It wasn't something I quizzed her on. =)

Goofy girl said...

I wonder if we check his blog if he mentions why they got separated and if he ever caught up to her.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Eeek! That arachnid is HUGE! That is just the reason why I would never be able to sleep without a tent....just the thought of creepy crawlies climbing over me makes me feel faint!
And what about a snake trying to slither into your sleeping bag?


Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers