July 17, 2016
I took it a little slower again this morning and didn’t get back on the trail until 8 am. I set my solar up at 6am to get a couple hours of charge in on my battery and took that time to just lay in my bag for a while. I send out a message to my family how depressed and unhappy I am. I had this wave of emotion come over me about my Dad and the thought of if he had a medical emergency when I was out here and how I would get out so I could make it home. Just thoughts thankfully, not reality.
My message out was about how bummed I am and not enjoying myself. I question why I am beating myself up and pushing myself to make miles that I had planned rather than just enjoying myself. I mean, I am out here to enjoy myself and enjoy my vacation. My family responds back with kind words and encouragement. I come to the conclusion that if I don’t make it back to Dunsmuir in time to catch my scheduled Amtrak train, then there would always be another train the next day or the day after that. There is no need to do this hike if I am not enjoying myself. I resolve to hike my own hike and take in the scenery and experience as I slow down to ‘smell the roses’.
This proved to be a great adjustment to my overall attitude and something that was long overdue.
I set out from camp to enjoy my day. I promise to stop for a decent lunch and take a few more breaks to air out my feet and relax.
It was a slow morning in regards to other hikers. It appears I am passing through a void…or is the calm before the storm. I only pass 4 thru hikers until the afternoon. And then only 3 more by 5pm. Each of them are amazed that there is someone in front of them because they haven’t seen anyone for days. Everyone seems to be hiking at the same pace and unknowingly keeping a few miles between themselves.
I cross over Scott Mountain Summit and continue the climb up. Today ended up being a great day physically.
I cruised up the incline at a great pace. Along the way up this young German hiker is running down the trail towards me. She stops when she gets to me and expresses how happy she is to see me here. She is hysterical as she explains how a couple hundred meters up the trail she spooked a bear that was behind a bush and they didn’t see each other until they were 10 feet from one another. The bear bolted down the canyon and she bolted down the trail. I tried to calm her down, but couldn’t give her the assurance that there was another hiker in front of here because it had been a couple hours since I had seen one. She carried on down the trail and I headed up to where she saw the bear.
I reached a point on the ridge with a fantastic view back to the North. Essentially the view was of the entire part of the trail I had been hiking for the past week. Way off on the horizon was Pilot Rock, Mt. Ashland, Devils Peak, the Marble Mountains…truly a grand view of past 170 trail miles.
I reach the top of the climb around sunset and start making my way down the other side. My goal was to reach Chilcoot Creek which would keep me 9 miles behind schedule, but 2 miles regained on the deficit. I hike the last couple miles in darkness, find an empty campsite among the 8 tents already set up in the area.
17 thru hikers.