Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 273.0

Monday, August 12, 2019; day 23

I was on my way around 0900.

By 1030 the storm clouds were dissipating, and I stopped to remove my raincoat.

I hydrated with huckleberries as I walked.

The fresh, sweet, moist mountainside smells filled me with a passion for life. I giggled with happiness.

As I moved closer to the bushwhack, I felt less and less afraid. The wilderness welcomed me.

The mountain fog was hauntingly beautiful; captivating in its mystery. What was it hiding, carrying, cloaking?

I stopped at a tiny wooden bridge over a stream at a junction. Stopping made me cold; as did the cold stream water.

The sun slipped behind the clouds and back again, but I did not fear rain. I removed my wet socks and let my feet air out for a moment. Losing the nail of my pinky toe was a certainty at this point, it was just a matter of when.

I put on my rain-gear in search of warmth, and ate a small meal.

I moved forward. I gazed down at Pyramid Lake as I climbed.

I passed Upper Ball Lake, and reached Lower Ball Lake–the final way-point before the scramble and bushwhack.

I set up camp. I fell to sleep early. Tomorrow was the day I had been waiting for.