I got up and going in a tad earlier than yesterday in equally warm, humid, and smoky weather. I wasn’t going to let that get to me as easily as it had yesterday, I was saying to myself.
Briefly, it started raining, but stopped again before anything really came of it. Shortly after my wish for trail magic was granted, as someone had left some food and beverages for us. I had a small bottle of orange juice, which was nice even though it was lukewarm. There were also grapes, which I told myself weren’t a good idea to indulge in as I could get bacteria/giardia from other hikers dirty fingers. I also told myself that they looked really tasty and that won me out.
For some time my backpack had annoyed me as I couldn’t tighten the hip belt enough either because I had lost a bit more weight or in part because it had gotten looser from the extended use, so I was carrying too much of the weight on my shoulders. I therefore decided to try to take out the buckle and loop one of the straps directly to the other side. That worked surprisingly well. The downside being that I now have to loop and unloop it every time I put on and take off my pack. Still worth it.
A bit past noon after mostly uneventful hiking, I came by a lake where I had planned to get water. It was aptly but uninspired named “Blue Lake”, which meant that they at least had gotten the color right compared to “Purple Lake”. I said to myself “Hey, why don’t I go for a swim here?” Finding no good reason not to I did so. It was cold to get into the water, but after getting under it was very nice, especially here on the third day of serious sweating. Looking into the water, there were hundreds of small dots, which I thought was just mud that I had kicked up from the bottom, but looking closely they were all red and in fact minuscule living creatures of some kind. They didn’t seem to bite at least, so I ignored them.
I got out of the water feeling very refreshed and reenergized. I gathered some blueberries from nearby bushes and had them as a post-swim snack. Some of them were ripe, but I think the majority will be more ripe in a week or so.
I went back to the trail and right there, quite unexpectedly, I saw Irish together with a new group of hikers. He had had a change of heart, so he and the other hikers had gotten a ride north and were now hiking southbound so that they would get back to Cascade Locks in time for the trail days. After that he was planning to find his original trail family (“tramily”). It seemed like a bit of a hassle to me, but he certainly seemed to enjoy things, at it was nice to see him again even though it only was for a short time.
I had a second lunch break during which Dragon passed me. A bit later I met two guys going south trying to do a “yo-yo”, which to hike from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico. That would be quite a feat, and one that only a few have accomplished.
Anyways, when I got to the first camp site that I had thought of my left foot and right shin were hurting a bit, so I cut the day short. I don’t think that it is something that will hurt me tomorrow, and I don’t think I will have problems making up for the lost miles. There were quite a few other hikers at that campsite, mostly SOBOs, and it was quite noisy, but luckily it got quiet as soon as hiker midnight came.
I don’t think today was terribly interesting, but it still managed to feel like a much better day than the two preceding it.
This days miles: 2193-2218