840.5 miles hiked
It’s cold in the morning and I sit in my sleeping bag, heating water for tea. I love making tea in the morning. Love it! How did I ever hike before I had a stove to make hot tea in the morning?!
Today: we’re in the Bob Marshall wilderness now, and the tread is wonderful. Ah, maintained trail! How nice it is to just walk! It’s so nice that we miss a junction and walk 1.5 miles in the wrong direction, through the forest along a glittering river, before realizing we’re not on the right trail and turning around. So an extra three miles for us today. Fuck.
Mostly the trail today is nice, but sometimes it dissapears in a tangle of blowdowns or is overgrown. My legs are scratched all to fuck already, and they sting. There are lots of stream crossings too, so my feet are wet and my ankles continue to be bloody. They get numb though, so that’s nice.
I see a bear- I’m hiking alone through a burn listening to my audiobook on speaker when I startle it and it runs off the trail and then stands below the trail in the fireweed, watching me. It’s a big, shiny, cinnamon-colored black bear- I’ve never seen a non-black black bear before. I look at the bear and the bear looks at me, and then I keep walking. I wonder if I even would’ve seen it, if I hadn’t startled it. I wonder how many black bears and grizzly bears have just sat in the forest and watched me walk by. And mountain lions. And wolves.
We climb a pass today, switchback pass, and it kicks my ass. I take a break near the top at Spotted Bear lake, where the wind whistles through the pine trees as I shove wavy lays potato chips into my mouth. Remember when all the thru-hikers ate fritos? Now we eat wavy lays. Above me are granite peaks with their pretty white snowfields. The grass is full of little yellow flowers. It’s good to be here.
I crash super hard on the way down the other side of the pass, switchbacking on the rocky trail, navigating over blowdowns- I’m trying to catch Track Meat and Spark, who I haven’t seen since lunch. They walk faster than me, especially on the climbs. We’d planned on a 32 mile day but I’m beat, and I’m hoping they’ll want to camp before that. But first I have to catch them. Twelve miles later I roll into a loamy campsite just as they’re crossing the stream. Spark hates getting his feet wet so he’s standing on a branch, teetering over the water. Track Meat has his shoes in his hand. I talk them into camping, feeling like the weak link. I’m so tired, but I hate being the one who can’t do the miles. I like being the one who’s all, rah rah rah! Let’s hike some more! But I’m also PMSing, so everything seems overdramatic. Probably I should just go to sleep.
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