Blue Sky and I are now camped about 4 miles from the Oregon border. It has taken nearly 1,700 miles and over 15 weeks to get here though I’m not feeling much worse than I did in the first week. I’ve learned to feel the onset of shin-splints, which I can do right now, and to slow down when I get that familiar pain. Today we pushed to 27.5 miles and it was plenty.
From my sleeping bag I could smell the forest fires were still burning. It didn’t seem very thick but as we climbed past the Devil’s Peaks and looked back we could see it was getting pretty bad for those in Seiad Valley today. It was near white-out conditions to the south and east and a good northerly wind kept it all back there and off the ridges we were on.
Finding water is getting to be a problem again. There are sources up here but no-one wants to carry more than they have to so we need to guess whether the next spring is still running. South bound hikers are good for that.
After crossing Cook and Green Pass we climbed up towards the day’s high point and had lunch. I mostly ate food other hikers had offered because they bought too much. Freeze-dried fruit from Troll, tortillas from Dr. Bug and apple sauce from Blue Sky.
I noticed with a smile that Riddle has passed through here recently. The trail-side art of a sunrise made from the brilliant white rock chips (quartz?) could only be her.
The afternoon walk was along the crest and it literally sparkled. Like heavy sand sprayed silver, the mica dust looked solid but gently padded the trail. It turned my shoes back to their normal grey from the red they had become after crossing Copper Butte. When the slabs of it by the side of the trail caught the sun they really shone. It probably won’t come out on camera but I tried.
More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Etna to Ashland
Distance today: 27.5 miles. Total distance: 1693.3 miles
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