Day 78: Counter Intuitive

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Mile 1552.8 to mile 1586.1 (33.3 miles, 53.6km)

Most of the water sources have become seeps or trickles out of the ground, a few springs and the occasional creek. Collecting it has become more challenging. Fewer and fewer sources where water can run straight into bottles. I’ve carried a cut in half water bladder bag since the start and it has come into its own again. It was a vital piece of gear to use as a water scoop in the desert, to collect water from small pools. Now I’m folding it in half, positioning it under the water and using it as a gutter to direct water into bottles for a quicker fill.

The air is hazy this morning and the smell of smoke is in the air. There are a couple of big fires that I’m aware of close to the PCT but for now the trail remains open. I’ll just have to keep an eye on them. If the trail gets closed some alternate route will have to be found around.

There is a much larger fire on the California-Oregon border as well that I understand is 100% contained but still putting up a lot of smoke from inside. A section of trail just north of Ashland was closed a few days ago. Again, I’ll learn more from Siead Valley with some cell service.

L-R: Mission, No Cello, Camel

The air is warm this morning and you can feel it will be another warm day. Up above 7000ft though the humidity seems to have gone and we’re back into the dry heat. This I can cope with no problem as it’s similar to hot days at home.

I really love walking early in the morning and experiencing all the different micro-climates in the landscape. While the air is warm, out in the open a layer of condensation clings to the vegetation. Where that is low you can feel the cool air on your legs as you walk by. Where the vegetation is thick and tall you can feel the rise in humidity as the water slowly evaporates with the rising sun. Most of all I love walking through tree covered gullies where the air is cool on the skin and the katabatic winds are still at play, slowly drifting down slope.

Today we move into the Trinity Wilderness but the direction seems counter intuitive. We’re headed south west for at least a day, maybe two. So we’ve been much further north already than where the trail now leads us. Soon we’ll turn north again and should continue in that direction all the way to Canada.

The day was another tough one. Quite a few moderate climbs up. Hard work in what is day four of 100 plus degrees, although the elevation has taken some of the sting out. The payoff has been the incredible views over the many rocky crags and bald hills.

Camel and I knocked out another 30 miler which was impressive given the terrain. We’re camped in a saddle with views still overlooking Mt Shasta although blanketed by smoke haze.

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