Monday, June 13, 2022

Day 105: The Calm Before the Storm....

August 3: It sprinkled ever so lightly during the night, but by the time I woke up in the morning, my tarp was completely and totally dry. Dark clouds, however, continued to hang over the morning.

I was looking to get another early start today but wound up not getting onto the trail until about 6:30am, and for the first time, I realized that I was losing daylight. A month ago, starting at 6:30 meant the sun was up and the light was good. Although there were dark clouds blocking direct sunlight, it was still surprisingly dark, and I realized my 6:00am starts were now a thing of the past.

There's definitely a hiker ahead of me somewhere!

Almost immediately, I started hitting the blowdowns. I knew they were coming, and they pretty much lasted the entire day. I didn't try counting them, but I figured they had to number over a hundred. Most of them weren't particularly difficult to get over, under or around, but they were a definite nuisance. But this wasn't the bad stuff I had been hearing horror stories about. No, the really bad section I didn't expect to reach until tomorrow.

The day stayed generally overcast the entire day with occasional short but brief sun breaks. At one point during the afternoon, a moderately hard rain started, and I decided to try waiting it out. I threw my tarp over a couple of logs and sat under it for an hour or two, reading about Lucas Davenport hunting down more criminals on my Kindle.

The rain finally stopped, the clouds parted, and the humidity suddenly shot way up making me feel more wet than I ever did from the rain, but the clouds soon returned and the temperatures cooled down to more comfortable levels.

Staying dry on a rainy afternoon.

I caught up with a couple of hikers: Price and someone else whose name I now forget and failed to note in my journal. They complained bitterly about the fallen trees and the fact that they had already lost the trail once today. They had stopped for a short break and were puffing weed when I caught up, seemingly in no particular hurry. They even asked me if we were on the correct trail when I arrived, as if I was a day-hiker familiar with the area and not also hiking the CDT.

"Well," I told them, "as far as I know, we're still on the correct trail. But if you did take a wrong turn, I did too!"

Comparing notes, it seemed likely that we might wind up camping by each other tonight. I wasn't planning a particularly long day of hiking wanting to find a good place to camp just before the really bad blowdowns started. I didn't want to get caught in bad blowdowns when the sun was setting! So I only needed to do about 21 miles today. Easy peasy, and they seemed have a similar plan.

But I never saw either of them again. Did they get lost? Lost on the trail? Lost in a cloud of smoke? I didn't know, but they struck me as very unambitious and not too worried about hitting their targets. Not sure what they would do when they started running out of food, though. Or pot for that matter. But they seemed like they were plenty happy taking their time and weren't in distress, so I wasn't worried about them.

At one point late in the afternoon, I reached the top of a small hill with a view and noticed a black dot moving across a distant meadow. But what was it?! A bear?! A moose?! Frustratingly, I couldn't tell. I pulled out my monocular but even magnified 6x, I still couldn't quite identify the moving dot. It was definitely a big animal if I could see it from this distance, though. Theoretically, it could have been a cow, but it didn't seem to move like a cow. It seemed like it had more of a lopey gait that a bear or a moose would use, and it bugged me to no end that I couldn't tell what it was. After a few minutes, it moved behind some trees and I lost track of it. I'll never know for certain what it was I was now. *sigh*

I wound up stopping for the day near Larson Creek, a couple of miles inside a wilderness area and a couple of miles before the bad blowdowns were expected to start. The campsite was in the trees--I had hoped to stop somewhere with a bit more of a view, but it would do fine. No rain was expected during the night so I didn't bother setting up my tarp.

All-in-all, not a particularly eventful day.

Definitely a bit wet in the morning.

CDT carving, so I'm definitely still on the right trail at this point!

Blowdowns were definitely problematic today, but this isn't the bad stuff I was hearing about.

More blowdowns, but still pretty easy to get through.

It was definitely nice to get access to more regular water again, and much better water too!

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