Staying Put

Today was a quiet day. I had contemplated staying another day at the campground I ended at yesterday; my ability to injure myself in sleep did not fail me, and I awoke with sharp ankle pain, which settled the question.

It was meant to be a day to put my feet up and rest, but I probably ended up walking five or six miles anyway. The PCT hiker camp is pleasantly isolated, but it’s a march to the restroom and water, and further still to the lake and few amenities. I also spent some good time gathering firewood: this is the first place I’ve been on the trail where I could have one, and like the hot shower, it was not an opportunity to pass up. Somehow it’s much more restful to watch the flames dance than to sit and stare out into the darkness, even when the heat is unneeded.

Really, today was much more the kind of day I’d been hoping for all through the journey: a time to read and contemplate, to enjoy the nature about me, and to explore at leisure. I walked along the lakeshore amidst clouds of hundreds of blue dragonflies; I poked about the old dam and spillway; I watched the light dance and shift among the thousand shades of green in the trees; I watched what was probably an osprey dive and hunt for fish. I seem far better able to corral my thoughts without the intrusions of worries about water, distance, pain, and timing. Apparently, what I’d really like is just an isolated cabin and some time: I’m clearly more Thoreau than Muir.

On a less self-important note, I did discover that, despite my compulsive checking, I had come away without my spoon. I trekked to the store and cadged one from the owner (who also was talked out of a bar of hotel soap, so I scored big). I turned into MacGuyver when I realized that the spoon was too flimsy to stir my potatoes. Solution: a tent stake for the stirring! Then, upon adding water, I discovered there was a hole in the bag. Solution:… Um… Eat through the hole! So I sucked up my mashed potatoes, which is an operation I wouldn’t recommend.

Tonight, I sit by my fire and contemplate. (No one told the mosquitos that they’re not supposed to like woodsmoke.) I plan on hiking on tomorrow. How far and how fast remains to be seen.


The view across (very low) Hyatt Lake. I’m not certain what mountain that is in the distance.


The sky over my campsite. It doesn’t come through really well, but there’s a rainbow at the leading edge of the clouds.


A day’s work.

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2 thoughts on “Staying Put

  1. Kate Bell

    Michael, if your lake picture was looking north/northeast then the mountain is Mt McLoughlin. If you go that far north on this section of your hike you will pass it on your left side. Good luck!

  2. Ellen

    Well it sounds like you had the best on trail zero possible. Perhaps your becoming a section hiker so that you can enjoy the views and everything else along the way. Have a great time.

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