Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 80 (8/5)  The Info Sherpa

As planned I woke up early today, but I was still passed on trail by a hiker cruising by at 6 something. Either he camped really close to me or he's one of those 5am guys... I packed up quickly but dawdled over breakfast, and then got to chat with another northbound hiker in his 11th year of section hiking the PCT. Thus year he's stepping it up and trying to all of Oregon in one shot. I have a lot of respect for guys like him because somehow they've remained dedicated to this goal over years and years. He was anxious for news of Crater Lake, and I informed him that it was totally passable, though the snowy forest section was frustrating.

Shortly thereafter I ran into Steel-Eye, another prolific PCT-L poster like Shroomer. Neat to put a face to a name and talk for a little while. After that I needed to start picking up the pace, and set cruise control to 'fast'. For awhile at least I can just focus on the trail and zone in, humming away and cranking out miles. Today the song of choice was Nightwish's 'Creek Mary', to which I know almost no words but it has a phenomenal score. I actually think I like the orchestral version more than the original track. And yes, I do make the distinction to call it orchestral and not instrumental because the score was played by the full London Philharmonic. Epic music for sure.

Sometime after lunch I ran into Wrong Turn, who was glad to hear firsthand news of the trail ahead. Apparently for the last two weeks southbound hikers who started in Ashland had been trekking horror stories of the snow at Crater Lake, despite not having seen it. He said most claimed that 'the roads were just plowed yesterday!' and that it for old real fast after hearing that 4 days in a row. I was glad to provide what info I could, with the caution that there would be a week off difference between when we each saw it. We talked for awhile longer as he waited for his current hiking partner Robbie who had been having trouble with his pack falling apart and had stopped to sew it up (again). Turns out he said Sourdough should be a few data behind, so I'm looking forward to running into him again. Finally Robbie caught up and wanted to ask the same questions about the trail north. Wrong Turn said he'd fill him in, so we parted ways and I looked to make some big progress yet today.

The trail was nicely graded the whole way, so I had no problem holding a good pace for a few hours. I stored for dinner on a wooden bridge over a marsh, and was staked halfway through when a squirrel popped out, screeched at me for 30 seconds, then turned tail and ran. I laughed at the unusual experience, finished diner and got going again. Around 7 I ran into Dirtmonger and Rhino, who wanted the full report on Crater Lake. By this point I'd gotten pretty good at my role of information carrier, or info sherpa as I jokingly referred to myself. I'd followed Dirtmonger's journal early on since he started before me, and it was good to see he was still moving along well. As for me, I was moving pretty well too, and managed to put in an extra mile or two before darkness fell. Its definitely happening sooner because I had to call it at 9 where I used to get at least another 30-45 minutes.

Miles Today: 23
Trip Mileage: 1102
PCT Mile Marker: 1755

Photo: Mt Shasta far, far, far off in the distance. My final destination this summer...

No comments:

Post a Comment