August 2, 2015
Cub Bear Spring (1614.0) to Tentsite before Buckhorn Spring (1638.8)
24.8 PCT miles today
1679.1 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,474 ft, – 5,040 ft
Today was one of those days that brings out your inner artist. The air around us was filled with smoke and the sun was hidden behind thick clouds that eventually brought cold rain and cast a grey tinge on the trees, mountains, and trail. The grey felt heavy and thick and it seemed to muffle sound and slow time. I felt compelled to write for most of the morning; strings of words would form on my lips and then disappear into the smoke. If I had been hiking alone, I’m not sure I would have made any progress today, choosing instead to sit with pen and paper and write down all those beautiful morsels of language. I think most people have an artist within them – whether they prefer to use colors, shapes, notes, or words – and I think anyone would have felt inspired to create wrapped in today’s atmosphere of mystery and contemplation.
As the day wore on and our feet began to ache with the weight of the last days’ big mileage, some of the smoke cleared and the sun peaked out from behind the clouds. The morning’s ethereal mood was replaced with the more tangible reminders of trail life – squawking birds, the clanking of poles on loose rock, and rivulets of sweat dripping down our necks. We spent the bulk of the day in silence, caught up in the same thoughts that we’ve recycled through our heads hundreds of times, occasionally speaking some new revelation out loud, or breaking the silence with mentions of mileage or upcoming breaks.
The only hikers we saw today were people whom we already knew, which was oddly comforting. There is a lot of mutual respect among hikers that have made it this far, and it is reassuring to know that we’re not the only people crazy enough to hike up and over all these mountains, especially on more physically demanding days like today. We’re currently leapfrogging with an especially kind group of hikers right now and we’re looking forward to spending some more time with them tomorrow evening in Seiad Valley. We caught up with Mosey, 70%, and Platypus, engaged in a few conversations with Cheney, have crossed paths with Speakerbox, and have looked forward to our occasional encounters with Primo, Salt Lick, and Pandora. There are many friends ahead and behind us, and we’re hoping that this trend of knowing everyone on trail continues, as it makes for a special treat each time our paths cross.
As our days in California come to a close, we continue to be impressed by this massive, diverse state. We are anxious to see what Oregon has to offer, but mornings like we had today hold a special place in our hearts and help to make up the incredible tapestry of memories that we’ve slowly created throughout these first 1,700 miles.