Friday, November 5, 2010

The Blahs

Sunrise from camp.
July 29: I woke up on my beautiful perch to another beautiful day, but the trail quickly dived back into the trees where it stayed for the rest of the day. I don't enjoy hiking in the trees. I can see trees anywhere--I want to see stuff that I can't see in a park two blocks from home, so I mostly spent the day just wanting to be done with it.

The trail crossed a dirt road by Ash Camp where I met two folks trying to find the PCT. "That's it right there," I said, pointing up the road a bit. I actually wasn't standing on the PCT at the time--I veered off long enough to use the outhouse, considerably more comfortable than doing one's thing in the woods. The two talked my ear off and they seemed pretty slow and dim-witted. Nice, but slow and dim-witted. One of them offered me pot, which I passed on, and they asked if they could hike with me a couple of miles up the PCT. I really didn't want to hike with them, and but rather than saying that, I took a more diplomatic approach and suggested that they'd probably have a difficult time keeping up with my pace. Which was true--I planned to hike over 30 miles that day and was a hardened thru-hiker. Most day hikers would have a tough time keeping up with me, even when I was carrying a heavy pack.

They looked a bit disappointed but understood, and I high tailed it out of there. I wanted to make sure my prediction that they couldn't keep up with me stayed true! =)

Don't worry--I'm NOT naked! I was changing my pants
however, and decided a photo of all the dirt on my
legs would be interesting. =) I especially like the "tan lines"
that my socks made. =)
Late in the afternoon, I caught up with Johnny Law and Missing Link, two hikers I seemed to be crossing paths with regularly every day for nearly two weeks now. They were stopped at a small creek, filling up with water, with yellow jackets thick in the air. Those critters must have had a hive nearby, but they left us alone. I stopped for  few minutes to chat, and Johnny Law told me that he was feeling "the blahs." He just wasn't enjoying his hike anymore, and--knowing I had completed a couple of thru-hikes in the past--wanted to know if that was normal.

"It certainly is for me," I told him. "Take today, for instance. Frankly, I'm not really enjoying the hike today. All I'm seeing are trees, and I can see those where I live. Today has been absolutely boring, but there are good days and bad days, just like you'd have off the trail. Not much to do expect savor the good days and push through the bad ones as quickly as possible."

He seemed a little better knowing that there were days I didn't particularly enjoy either--when the hike feels more like a job than an enjoyment. Despite the dullness of today, though, I was still in a pretty good mood. I was still reliving the day before in my head--the day with the fantastic views and a killer campsite, and I know--I know there will be days like that again ahead. "Live for those good days," I told him.

"What motives you to hike the trail?" he asked.
Stupid trees didn't allow for many views
along this stretch of trail. Pretty dull!

Gosh, I don't know. The sense of adventure? Boredom in the real world? Too much time on my hands? See new places? Because it's there? Seems like whenever anyone asks me that question, I always have a different answer, and I don't really believe any of them.

But I did tell Johnny Law, "I'm kind of tired of hiking at this point. I just want to finish. Do big miles and get 'er done." It's kind of pathetic to be tired of hiking and still have more than a thousand miles left to hike. "But at the end, you'll have been glad you did the whole thing. If you quit now, you'll always regret it."

We pushed onward and upward, the three of us eventually setting up camp on Girard Ridge Road with an overlook of Mount Shasta, the city of Mount Shasta, and my first decent view of Black Butte which may not be as tall as Mount Shasta, but is still beautiful in its own way. I had hiked 30.6 miles, my second consecutive 30+ mile day, and right on schedule to get to the post office in Dunsmuir with plenty of time to spare.

Strangely, the mosquitoes there were awful, completely unfair since we were camped miles away from the nearest (known) water source. Where the heck did all these bugs come from?! ARGH! Camping away from water doesn't seem to guarantee one can avoid mosquitoes, but I continued to do it as much as possible. At least the mosquitoes weren't as thick!

This photo cracks me up. It looks like the photo is
tilted, but it's not--the trees are! Only one tree
in the distance seems to be growing straight up. =)

Bridge over Squaw Valley Creek.

Sap drips down from the cut trail workers made on this tree fall.

Sunset on Mount Shasta, as seen from camp tonight.


apack2007 said...

Just you ever see much wildlife, or do you just not post it? Except for snakes and dogs I haven't read much about them...


Ryan said...

Nothing much to write about. Squirrels, chipmunks, deer, marmots, pikas, and such are pretty common. Just not very exciting to write about.

-- Ryan

Blue said...

I have been enjoying these post enormously GT. So glad ur out there reporting back to us wanna be thru hikers.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

It's a relief to read that you're a mere mortal and sometimes get the blahs on the trail, too. And it's good to read that they don't last long either :)
Great pics, especially the running sap.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers