Archive for July 12th, 2006

Destination: Painted Rock Trail
Starting Location: Miller Creek
Today’s Miles: 23.70
Trip Miles: 1147.10
Miller Creek (1122.3, 7126) to Painted Rock Trail (1146.0, 7550) ascent (4800) descent (4331)

Some days are just easy. This was one of them. The extra hour of sleep last night was great & the walking was pleasant. As the sun sets it is hitting the back of my tent, providing bright light & great warmth. The sound of the adjacent stream is pleasantly loud, my stomach is full & I am perfectly content.
While others use alarms to awaken I am fortunate in that the early morning bird calls are enough to wake me. The timing is perfect as the birds begin singing & just before sunrise it gets quite loud at 5:15 a.m. I can use the woods & be ready to hike by 6:00 a.m. A candy bar typically holds me over until we stop for breakfast at 7:30 or so. If I was hiking alone I would do things differently but this schedule works for me & when I suggested that I wanted to stop walking by 6:30 p.m. everyone consented to the request. Teamwork & compromise; powerful ways to build respect.
I have seen and partaken in some strange food combinations on the trail but a couple of real winners include mac & cheese mixed with mashed potatoes, & peanut butter on anything you can think of. By far, the winner is however, making tea of hot chocolate from the starch water that is left after cooking your noodles. Those who drink it swear the extra starch is good and the taste is “not bad”.
Dropped my snow baskets a few days early and crossing the remaining fields are more difficult without them as I can not push off while climbing and more than once the poles have been walked out of on the down hills.
While skiing down a nice piece of snow I made the mistake of looking at the only tree (about 8’) on the entire slope. When I got stopped the tree was bent about 45 degrees between my legs with the crown touching my nose. Pang, Swiss Miss & Sugar Daddy were laughing so hard they were nearly crying. The phenomenon is called object fixation and literally means if you focus on something while moving toward it, you will hit it. I know & understand this phenomenon, I have practiced ensuring it does not happen (very dangerous on a motorcycle) & yet there I was straddling this poor pine tree.
The inside of my tent looks like the killing fields as I have put my thumb to good use each night killing mosquitoes. It is amazing how much blood one of these evil beasts can hold & what a mess they make after hundreds are smashed above & beside your head.
The sun is really setting now & everything outside is turning golden yellow while casting long shadows. This is a magical time in the mountains. I now also smell the wild onion growing at the creek side. It seems to be getting stronger with the rapid temperature drop & potential rise in humidity. It is too glorious to write – I must take this in.


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