I didn’t sleep too well last night, but not because it was too cold. It wasn’t. One time I awoke and heard chewing sounds, so I immediately looked at my food bag to see if a rodent had chewed through my tent and then were having a go at that. Wasn’t the case. Then I realized that there was a two inches long bug crawling right above my head, well on the outside of the tent wall, that is. That was the source of the sound. Pew!
It seemed like all the wind of yesterday potentially had blown away some of the smoke. At least there wasn’t as much of it as yesterday, though it still obscured the more distant objects.
The scenery was quite similar to yesterday with grassy mountains and pines of various sizes and colors. There were also an increasing amount of cypress trees. As for the trail, it was actually quite a bit rougher than yesterday with many rocks and elevation changes. That slowed things down quite a bit. The trail skirted the edge of Mt. Rainer National Park, but only occasionally, was the namesake mountain seen in the distance.
Though I would not meet any other through hikers today, there were a bunch of day hikers. That included three nuns in their religious attire. A man asked me if I were through hiking, as he himself had done The Appalachian Trail. Another man asked me the same question as his brother, who now lived next to the trail in Seiad Valley, had been working as a trail maintainer most of his life. For some reason I didn’t feel like reiterating my less than positive remarks of Seiad Valley (though it didn’t refer to the people living there). I did not see any other through hikers today, not even southbound ones.
Around noon I came by “Sheep Lake”, which was surrounded by idyllic hillsides. It also looked like a nice place for a swim, so I changed clothes and went for it. It took me a bit of time to get under as these lakes haven’t exactly gotten warmer the further north I’ve gotten, but once I did it was a quite nice swim. That might have been the last, or if not, then one of the last swim of the journey as it will probably soon be too cold. It was nice being clean again and I afterwards had my lunch break there.
Afterwards the trail continued in similar settings as it started today, except much of it was in a recent burn area, probably one from last year. I still wasn’t making great speed, so I had my dinner break at a campsite just twenty two miles in, which was less than my already modest goal of twenty five miles. This was at a gap between two
mountains called “Martinson Gap”, which also represented a gap in the burn area.
I had my dinner and couldn’t help noticing al the creaking sounds that the burned trees made in the distance as if they were about to tumble over or lose a branch. I looked through the comments on the upcoming tent sites in the app, and I was glad that I did, as somewhere below a lot of other comments, a previous hikers had written that they were in a burn area. That meant that the next camp site after this one was in ten miles and that I had a good excuse for not pushing on. Still, I didn’t like the tent sites at the campsite as they somewhat had a dead tree looming over them. I looked a bit further ahead and found one a bit off trail without any nearby dead trees and camped. It was the first time for a while that I had camped alone, which made me a bit uneasy. While I was in my tent I also heard some noises that I was pretty sure belonged to a large animal. It would certainly have been nice if I could see if it was just a deer.
This days miles: 2315-2337