Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 221.6

Monday, August 5, 2019 day 16

I woke up roadside, packed up my things, and continued down the pavement towards the Midge Creek Trail.

In just .5 mile I came to a roadside water source, adding nearly 11 lbs to my pack.

I was cold. I stoodd briefly in a sun patch to warm my bones.

My mood shifted so quickly as I climbed to Midge Creek: tears for lost love and friendship,  comfort through an especially loving and welcoming stretch of woods, joy from the simple nourishment of a food-bar and freshly collected water, appreciation for all I have experienced thus far in life.

I stop at a stream. Water is reportedly scarce for the next 18 miles, and the trail is reported to be faint or disappear in the next stretch near Rock Candy Mountain.

I watch as bugs mate on the shaft of my ice axe.

Sometimes I consider whether I am having fun on this trail. I am certainly enjoying myself, the challenge. It is invigorating to spend so much time in the wilderness.I am unable to relax as much, however, as I always need to be certain that I am heading in the right direction. The thru-hiking culture is faint. These obstacles, however, cause me to grow stronger. These lessons are harsher, they teach me more.

Just as it sometimes does with a soul-stirring song, determination too can rush over me in a powerful wave that causes my skin to rise in goosebumps.

I can do this.

As my motivation rose, as I seemed to transcend the struggle, feel almost out-of-body with determination, something stings or bites  me, and I am brought right back.

I continue on towards Rock Candy Mountain Trail for a bit longer before I stop for a break.

I consider who I am as a person. Thru-hiking is interesting because you get to witness yourself slowly adapt and change to your environment. This is what helps me to understand who I am, recognizing the “constants”, regardless of time or space.

Every bit of water is so precious. I mix my instant coffee with the tiniest bit possible.

I fall back on the trail. Lay there for a  moment. Gaze at the sky. I sit back up. Sip some coffee.

Ok. Let’s go.

As I continue, a faint junction appears. I see sticks blocking one of the pathways, so I follow the other. The trail disappears. I find my way back up. Maybe I should stop thinking those sign are for me.

As I climb, it is hot, I am thirsty. I am afraid, however, of drinking too much.

I spot a pond by the ridge line ascent. I stop to collect. Its buggy and foggy but it’s another liter, just in case.

The trail does disappear in the flats, but there are cairns to help guide the way. I am able to follow them without too much difficulty.

Then, at around mile 212, there is a positively gorgeous spring!

Ecstatic I drink my fill. I empty my bottles to fill them with this magical elixir.

I soon came upon yet another water source. I collected again. I would be very comfortable tonight.

I connected to the American Mountain Trail and ascended towards Canuck Peak.

I connected to Ruby Ridge Trail 35 as night fell. The sunset was beautiful.

I had made it to Idaho.

My feet burned.

I star-camped, roadside. Again, hopeful that their would not be any passing vehicles in the night.

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