Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 82 (8/7) The Final Countdown

There are now just 11 days left in my trip - a sobering thought. I woke up rested and refreshed this morning, and the only sign of yesterday's endeavors was the pair of raw spots on my heels, easily remedied with tape for now. I guess the other less visible sign was my appetite. Breakfast featured unlimited pancakes, and I put away three stacks on top of the eggs, hash browns, bacon, and numerous cups of coffee. Turtle and Magellan were taking a few days off to visit with friends, and Sourdough had plans in Ashland; none of them would be hiking out today. Nice & Steady had taken off bright and early at 6:30, before breakfast! Mathias cruised out the door around 9 on his way to a 30+ day. He somehow manages to clock 5mph on the downhills, and I really wish I could see him hike to know what he dos special or if he resorts to jogging. That's one of the great benefits of ultra-light backpacking is that it allows you to be more nimble, and I know a number of people who employ a semi jog that would kill myt knees with the weight I'm carrying... For the record, ultra-light is considered less than 8 pounds of gear, where I have around 15. I do know where I could cut 3 pounds if I shell out some more $$... New down sleeping bag, down jacket and I'm knocking on the door of the single digits. That's just a matter of money I'm not willing to spend at the moment.

As Sourdough, Turtle, Magellan and I are breakfast we were treated to a curious display. There was a jay raiding the sugar packets from each table as the patrons left. The staff seemed overwhelmed again this morning (despite only a dozen tables...) so they weren't bussing tables fast enough to jeep this jay away. The most interesting part was that it would pick up a set of packets, and if they were artificial sugar, the link and yellow ones, he would drop them. The real sugar, the white and brown packs were taken away to some secret stockpile. Amazing that or could tell between sugar and splenda. Easily the funniest part was an hour later when three jays were hyper all over the back yard, flying this way and that making a giant ruckus. Quality entertainment right there.

After breakfast I took advantage of the shower, then started to catch up on email. Mike had worked out our apartment situation, so I just had to sign the lease. This turned into quite the ordeal as I got it printed and signed, but then the fax machine wouldn't work. After a few tries I gave up and emailed photos of each page to Mike. What a headache, but at least thats one less thing to worry about when I get home. With the lease stuff resolved I moved on to packing my food. This was a box that had been forwarded from Echo Lake, soit didn't perfectly match my needs. Plus I had some leftover food from the last section due to several restaurant meals so I wanted to pare down my stash. No need to carry ahl that extra weight. It took about 30 minutes, but afterward I was happy to see all the stuff I wouldn't be putting on my back.

Finally I was ready to go, and I took off back along the road towards the trail. It seemed so much shorter this time when my legs were fresh at the start of the day... Right around 4:00 I hit the trailhead, and I knew I was in for a short day. The while way I was climbing, and my legs weren't exactly feeling the best after the punishment from yesterday. I made 5 miles by 7pm when I stopped to make dinner. The Ashland Inn was right there and they generously allow hikers to get water from a spigot out front. Plus the picnic table was perfect for making dinner. One of the dogs harassed me while I ate, I think because he wanted some tuna or rice. When I left I felt weighed down and bloated, and despite my intention to tack on another 4-5 miles I only made one before calling it quits on account of my disagreeable stomach. I'll really have to make up miles tomorrow to compensate for this near goose egg of a day.

Miles Today: 6 (+1)
Trip Mileage: 1139
PCT Mile Marker: 1720

Photo: Sourdough was in Ashland!

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