Day 116: Summer Thunder

August 8, 2017: Hiked Miles 1715.2 to 1738.6 + .8 to get back to the trail (24.2 total)

I finally finished updating all my blogs last night and it was such a relief. I hate getting behind, especially almost two weeks behind. I feel like I’m letting my readers down! But after spending most of the day working on my phone, not hiking at all, and drinking two cups of coffee this morning, I could not fall asleep for the life of me. I think I finally fell asleep around 12:30, so the morning came way too quickly when Colton woke me up at 6:00.

We packed up and shoved as much breakfast in our mouths as possible and Kim was kind enough to drive us back out to the trailhead before work. She told us all kinds of stories about her job and we laughed and laughed and were back at the trailhead in no time. Kim is so sweet and we can’t thank her enough for her hospitality, especially to help us out when she is busy enough as it is.

We said goodbye and started hiking into another smokey morning.

We of course started off with a super steep climb as we always do to make our way back to the trail.

I saw a couple different kinds of pretty berries. They looked yummy, but since I didn’t know what they were I decided to let them be. 

But as luck would have it, we were rewarded with some fresh fruit after all in the form of trail magic. 

Fruit, soda, and some kind of cobbler. It looked like we might have been the first people to find it, so we took a few pieces of fruit and kept hiking. People are so freakin cool.

The morning was so funny. We headed south for what seemed like forever and then finally curved around to the east. The trail constantly changed from lush, green forests to dry fields. We passed by Pilot Rock which was cool because we’ve been seeing it as we’ve been hiking for the past couple days from far away. It has a distinct shape against the landscape and stands out pretty well. 

The morning passed fairly quickly and uneventfully. The trail wound through the trees most of the time and then we would pop out on a ridge with a view every so often.

We found a shaded spot for lunch and took a long break to try and wait out the heat, since it surprisingly turned into a pretty hot and humid day. 

I watched as the clouds started to move in at lunch.

They started out looking pretty and puffy and then got darker and darker throughout lunch. 

When Kim was driving us back to the trailhead this morning she asked what it feels like to get back on the trail after showering and getting clean. We told her we don’t even think about it now. We know we’ll be dirty within a couple hours, so it just seems normal to be sweaty and dirty all the time. I was thinking about this at lunch and realized just how much I have adjusted to this lifestyle. And how much I really, really like it. I really actually enjoy starting off the morning with a good climb and instantly being sweaty and knowing I’m gonna stay that way for the next five or so days. I think it’s funny how we rarely even try to wash the dirt off ourselves on the trail because we know it’s a pointless endeavor when we’ll be dirty again within minutes, everyone else is filthy too, and we could instead be spending our time relaxing. I love sleeping in a tent and wearing the same thing every day and not knowing where I’m gonna end up each day or how I’m going to get to town to resupply or who I’m gonna meet or what I’m gonna see. I call it simple living. Some call it the hiker trash lifestyle. Which was fitting to see this sign today…

“Normal” life seems so foreign now. Laundry and showering every day, having more than one pot to wash, sleeping inside, having different food options, having free time for tv. It’s all a little overwhelming. It’s nice right now in small doses when we go into town, but I’m not so sure I’m gonna be ready to readjust back to that after the trail. Good thing we still have a couple months. 

Anyways, where was I? With all this time to think out here my mind wanders like crazy. I refer to it as going to fantasy land. I make up crazy stories about my life, imagine all these different jobs I’ll have someday and different places I’ll live and think about how my life had changed throughout the years with all the different experiences I have had. No matter where I go or what I do, I always crave new experiences because it allows me to grow and expand my thinking. I love reflecting on life. And this is such a great place to do it. 

Soooo, back to hiking. More of the same views after lunch. 

We passed by a spillway at one point in the distance and crossed a road. 

As you can see the sky was starting to get a lot darker. We started hearing thunder that lasted for the last couple hours of hiking. Summer thunderstorms are my favorite. I got really giddy and practically started skipping down the trail. We also got some awesome views of the valley and the hills we came from a couple days ago. 

Just before we got into camp we started seeing lightening and then started feeling raindrops. Luckily the campsite was covered enough by trees and the rain never really materialized anyways. 

There was a sign posted near our campsite with some cool artwork:

Get It? Clever. 

We met Blacksquatch who was also camping there. He’s section hiking the trail and previously hiked the AT. He’s a pretty funny guy and he entertained us with lots of trail stories. We laughed all through dinner. We ate a couple more of the Mountain House meals Jeff sent us. Our favorites actually. Lasagna for Colton and teriyaki chicken for me. And then we crushed the apple cobbler dessert he sent us. Yum, amazing. If only we had some ice cream to go with it, we would have had some fine dining. I forgot to take a picture because it was gone so fast. Thanks for spoiling us Jeff!

Then it was tent time meaning candy, book on tape for Colton and blogging for me. And hoping the rain doesn’t decide to destroy us in the middle of the night. 

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3 thoughts on “Day 116: Summer Thunder

  1. The blue berries on bushes with serrated leaves are Oregon Grape. Edible but bitter. Not sure about the red berries.

    Was great meeting you and your mothers at Etna summit. At first I thought Colton’s mother was his sister! Your mom gave us a tour of Etna with stops at the dollar store, post office, and hiker hut. Also a bottle of ice water, which was wonderful.

    Enjoying your blog. Write on!

    old beekeeper

    Liked by 1 person

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