July 12: Another amazing day- filled with wild flowers and sun and river crossings and animals. And today, there was also food. Since we had come down in elevation a bit, the start to the day wasn't nearly as cold as yesterday. No gloves or hat! Just the usual early morning chill before the sun climbed higher in the sky. I walked past the ultras, still sleeping soundly, along a ridge line, forested and filled with scurrying little things. At one point. I was walking down a hill, and I saw the flank of what I thought was a deer, half obscured by a bush. As I got closer, the animal spooked and went crashing out of the bush, running away from me as fast as it could- which was FAST! It was a mountain lion! I did not expect to see one hiking- though I knew they were around. Mountain lions tend to stay high up and away from people. It wa kind of comforting to see that it was afraid of me!
A little while later, I stopped for water and food here.
It was the kind of day where you were a little warm hiking, but cooled right off when you stopped for a break. I pulled another layer on each time I ate. Which makes for perfect hiking temperature. But a tad chilly for swimming. Which was kind of a shame, because this looked so inviting!
In addition to being the perfect temperature, the ground was flat, the trail smooth, and the ground cover slightly packed dirt. I was flying! Miles just zipped along. And what's more- at a lovely water stop (a clear, isolated spring) I sat down to filter (and eat- of course) and I discovered I had cell reception for the first time since leaving Lake Tahoe. Nice to have a check in!
At that same water stop, I met Tex. Tex was solo hiking and on a mission to finish on 4 months. He was really packing in the miles. But today, he said the was going to stop at Buck's Lake for ice cream and soda. I had not planned on stopping in Buck's Lake- I was going to resupply at the next town. But he had me at ice cream. Tex and I hiked together for he next few hours to Bucks Lake and had pulled pork sandwiches, sodas, and ice cream for dessert.
I headed back to he trail after the meal, Tex decided to grab a cabin at the lake.
As I was doing the road walk back to the trail, I ran into the ultra running couple coming into Bucks Lake. They, too, found the cell coverage at the spring. They used it to call a friend to come pick them up on Bucks Lake. I guess backpacking isn't for everyone.
Back at the trailhead, I ran into Prickly Pear and Baby Eater again. We hiker together for a while, but later parted ways. They tend to sleep in later and hike later into the night. They wanted to do another 16 that day. Not me. I was wondering whether to push on further, but then I found a campsite with not only a beautiful view, but cell coverage! Twice I one day!
I set up camp, called a few people, and managed a blog post before bed. Not a bad day! Oh- and I got in 36miles!
Peace, love, and trail magic!