Friday, September 23, 2022

Day 149: Music on the Trail

September 16: The wind finally died down during the night, and except for the lightest of sprinkles that lasted a few minutes, rain turned out not to be an issue either.

But the morning was bitterly, bitterly cold. I was surprised, however, when I looked out from under my tarp and saw actual snowflakes falling! It was snowing! It was very light and short in duration, but they were honest-to-goodness snowflakes! Absolutely none of it stuck so it wouldn't be a problem, but it was definitely a reminder that the seasons were changing and I really needed to get this trail done--and the sooner, the better.

Knowing all the hunters prowling around the area, I decided to play music on my smartphone out loud for most of the day. Let them know I'm coming and hopefully none of them would mistake me for an elk and start shooting. If it warned a grizzly bear that I was rounding a corner, that was a perk too. No reason to scare a bear by accident! But mostly, I wanted to make sure the hunters nearby knew it was a person walking down the trail. My pack was bright with colors--which, in fact, was the main reason I always sewed my packs with bright colors--but that was the only gear I really had that stuck out to say, "Hey, don't shoot! I'm a hiker!"

But I wound up never seeing any hunters at all on the trail the entire day. In fact, I saw absolutely nobody the entire day. Since hunting season started yesterday, I theorized that I saw so many hunters because they were all heading into the backcountry all at once, but now they were already in the backcountry and probably hiding, waiting for their shot at an elk.

I did pass one campsite with a few horses nearby which I assumed belonged to a hunting party, but the campsite was empty of people. They were definitely around somewhere....

The day was a largely easy day of hiking. The burn areas were ugly, but at least they provided nice views. Not much to report, really--so I played my music aloud all day long and enjoyed the walk.

By the end of the day, I decided to set up camp need Woods Creek--away from burned trees. There was a single living tree nearby, and the ground was flat (albeit a little rocky for someone without a pad to sleep on), and--much to my surprise--I wound up getting a cell phone signal from the location as well! It was the first hint of a signal I had gotten since leaving Augustus several days before.

My campsite for the night was on this rocky patch that let me camp somewhere without a lot of dead, standing trees nearby. (There are quite a few live trees in the background of this photo, but there are dead trees just behind them that could easily fall and hit me if I tried camping closer to those.)

So much of the rest of the evening I spent catching up on emails and messages. My campsite was located in plain view of the setting sun which allowed me to soak up its warmth until the very last minute before sunset. And I needed the warmth. The day never really warmed up. Even in the middle of the afternoon at the hottest time of the day, it was still quite cold in the shady areas so all my rest breaks were in the sun.

Once the sun set, however, the temperature plummeted and I stopped using my phone. My hands were just too cold to make effective use of it, so I went to watching Netflix videos and reading my Kindle for the rest of the evening.

Remember these guys from the PNT? No, whoever did those on the PNT isn't ahead of me on the CDT, but I remembered them from the PNT and thought I'd plant my own leaf-people on the trail for the hikers behind me to enjoy. =)

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