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Archive for September 23rd, 2006

Destination: Porcupine Creek
Starting Location: Stehikin
Today’s Miles: 21.20
Trip Miles: 2532.60
Stehikin (2574.1, 1600) to Porcupine Creek (2595.3, 5080) ascent (5128) descent (1660)

In the fall the temperature feels different while the actual temperature is exactly the same. I do not know how this works but I felt it today and mentioned it to Thunder. He referred to the feeling as experiential, meaning that my experience tells me this is a fall like feeling. It is probably not just the temperature but rather the long shadows, smells, changing colors in the vegetation, and other subtle clues not even registered but providing data.
We now know what the fuss is about. The North Cascades are some rugged mountains & boy are they gorgeous. They are really steep, to the point of looking like a saw blade, and they are flanked with numerous glaciers. It was a magnificent day to be here.
On the day into Stehikin, I left first and saw perfect bear prints in the newly fallen snow. I could not have been more than a minute behind and I kept stopping, turning 360 degrees & asking “where are you bruin?” Never showed but the tracks reminded me I was the visitor.
We have seen probably a hundred ptarmigan and I am really surprised they have not gone the way of the dodo bird. These are the dumbest birds I have ever seen. In the wild they will let you get close enough to practically skewer with your hiking pole. A sling shot would be deadly, an arrow appropriate, and a shot gun would require throwing a rock first to get them out far enough as to not destroy all the meat. Pretty darn birds regardless.
We did not catch our friends from The Ranch but did get a message that we were in trouble as a result. We apparently missed them by about 5 minutes. Turns out they got dropped off farther up the trail & thus had a 5 mile & 1 hour head start. So basically they had a 3 hour head start and they were all in their early 20’s. When I told them we would likely catch them but it would take us “over 40 guys” a bit to catch them they could not believe it. Now no one has misjudged my age in a long time & having graduate school age females do so by a decade was certainly good for the ego. The trail equalizes so many things. Our clothes do not express age, we do not have bellies any more, (I hope that lasts a while), and we exhibit much less reserved behavior than our typical peers. Basically we have learned to have a lot of fun again. We laugh a lot, smile like when we thought we could change the world, and pay no attention to status or economic placement. Damn we are cool again – how about that.

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