Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 261.8

Saturday, August 10; day 21

I rose to the sound of doors closing and footsteps.

I ventured downstairs to be greeted by Isabel and a hot pot of coffee.

I poured myself a mug and moved to a sitting area outside. I was introduced to Dani, and then Patches. I was inspired by their travelling lifestyle. We sat and chatted joyfully. Everyone was tremendously kind. We talked about the area and looked at maps and spoke of bushwhacking. We discussed how the thunder storm, though predicted to begin last night, had yet to pass through.

Soon, I heard Mikeys voice, “giggles, ya about ready to go? We are gonna head out in 5 minutes.”

“Sure thing, thank you!”

Mikey offered to take me all the way to the Parker Ridge trailhead. I thanked him, but told him that I had intented to pick up right where I had left off.

“Welp. That’s right here, then.”

Again, I thanked him. Not many people stop to offer help to others in the night.

I found the yard with the trampoline, and continued on my way.

The sky teases me. Still no rain.

As I walked I ate a bag of mushrooms and kale and rice cakes.

Roosters crow.

I picked beautiful rosey little apples on my way.

I found a ten-dollar bill on the ground!

I continued through farmland.

I crossed a bridge over the Kootenay River, one of the major tributaries of the Columbia River.

I watched as eagles soared high above me.

As I approached the trailhead, I felt excitement. I gazed at the mountains; they welcome me. The sun shines.

It seems to me, that turning in circles within the boundaries of cities and towns sensitize my nerves–in a fraying and dissociative manner. When I am moving by foot–and moving is my soul intention, I am calmed.

This trail is teaching me that there are no certainties in life, this seems to me, a magical thing

So many flying, hopping insects: locusts. They bounce off my face, and through the gap between my back and my pack.

I stop to admire the cycles of the tree: from erect and thriving, to a downed habitat for others, to part of the forest floor.

Idaho is beautiful!

I sat in the dirt facing a tree filled mountainside. Silence save for the sound of the wind through the valley, through the trees. I lean back and my body contours perfectly to the formation of rocks. It is the Earth’s embrace. I’m hard-pressed to find anything sweeter.

I carried on.

At 1411, thunder.

This was followed by rain.

The rain was followed by hail.

The downed trees on the Parker Ridge Trail was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

For two miles I worked my way under, over, through, and around. Often I had to leave the trail entirely in order to press forward.

This was good training for what’s to come, I thought.

The limbs of trees latch to my shorts, propelling me forward when I release their hold; a nudge to push forward. I laugh aloud.

Dirt and ash and blood color my legs.

The hail regresses, becoming rain once more. It then ceases entirely as I moved to collect water from a nearby spring.

I notice I lost my nalgene.

Still more blow-downs; but less and less as I climbed.

I was cold. My feet were wet. The woods were beautiful.

At around 1830, I came to a tent-site.

A fire-ring and cut logs obstructed the center of the site. I broke down the fire-ring tossing stones and ash away, rolling away logs.

I erected my shelter and tended my sore body. On my right foot, the skin was turning green below the nail of my smallest toe. My legs were slashed with numerous superficial cuts and scrapes and mottled patches of black and blue.

I smiled.

I was filled with pride, not pain.