26.9 miles (Mile 1467.6 – 1494.5)
Deer Creek – PCT Mile 1494.5
Today was one of my favorite days on the PCT so far. It was pretty and everything as usual, but it’s ranking as one of my favorites because of my mood. I guess I just woke up on the sunshiney side of the tent this morning. I felt like a Disney cartoon character hopping down the trail with a huge smile on my face, wishing I could throw my hands in the air and break into song… but I didn’t do that. The poor forest creatures would never be the same! The best part is that my mood lasted all day long, and the people I encountered only enhanced it. It seemed like everyone was just happy and positive today! I love it!
I got going later than usual today, but it was worth it. I don’t know if I would’ve had such fun deer encounters otherwise. I had two young bucks in velvet antlers (so freakin’ gorgeous!) almost walk right up to me. As soon as I saw them I stood as still as possible while slowly and smoothly reaching for my phone, keeping my eyes on them the whole time. I was able to capture some good video and a few photos of them. I couldn’t help but giggle at their behavoir. One of them walked right towards me, staring me down the whole time as he licked his chops. You know how it is in the cartoons when one character is super hungry and envisions another character as a huge roasted chicken? Well, I think that deer smelled my sweat and pictured me as a giant salt lick… but I moved too much, so they eventually mosied on out of sight. I later followed a doe down the trail for a bit, too. Every once in a while she’d stop and turn around to see if I was still there. I think she finally realized I wasn’t going anywhere and gracefully hopped on all fours up the forest hillside.
I’ve been taking longer breaks and hiking faster. It’s not like a new style I strategically adopted or anything, it’s just been naturally happening as I hike on my own and make decisions for myself. I enjoy hiking this way, but I don’t think it’ll always be that way. Every day is different, so I’m sure my hiking style is, too. I do tend to linger on breaks even longer when I have good company, too. I got a little ahead of Hunny Bunny, Giddyup, Wakka and Sunshine today, so I only saw them a couple of times, but I leapfrogged with Kazu, Kenobi and a little with Rocks. Rocks is one of the happiest guys I’ve seen on the trail, and I enjoy being around him. His positivity rubs off, even on a day like today when I don’t particularly need it. I still really appreciate it though! I wish I could keep up with him!
I took an hour at McCloud River early in the day. I ate a bunch of snacks, drank a bunch of water, washed my legs, arms and socks, and enjoyed the beautiful rushing river. I then stopped at Trough Creek where I washed my legs and arms again – with campsuds this time – to be sure I got any poison oak oil off of my skin. That stuff was everywhere and really difficult to avoid in spots – especially when I did the “hiker hop” (slamming the front of a foot into a rock or root, causing you to leap forward a few feet) right into a big bunch of poison oak. Oopsy. A third long break was at Squaw Valley Creek, another big river. I had snacks, filled water and hiked on to camp from there.
We encountered our first posted warning regarding possible reroutes due to forest fires today. A lightning storm has ignited a few small fires near the trail further up, but the latest update says they shouldn’t affect us, which is great news.
I had a note from Tears on the trail today – that was fun. I think she’s probably been 10 miles ahead of me on this stretch. It would’ve been cool to catch up to her, but I’ll see her tomorrow when we get out to meet Aloha at I-5. I’m excited for town. I’m craving a fruit smoothie, red wine, and Wisconsin squeaky cheese curds. I think the cheese curds are probably out, so I’ll try for the smoothie and red wine. Sooo… if anyone from Wisco feels an urge to send me some curds… that would be really awesome! It’s just too bad there’s no way of getting some deep-fried curds. I know what I’m havin’ as soon as I get home! :-)
Tonight I love… two things. Positivity and cheese curds.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!