CS955.2 to CS970.6 (955.2 to 970.2, duh)
Daily miles: 15
Another sleep-in morning, this time only until 8:30 though. I’m alright with the late start because the old trees are spreading out their branches, blocking the sun, and the bugs and birds are singing away in their boughs. Below me a big river runs it’s course, and I can hear it’s waters. The air is still and I pack up my things and warm a poptart on my camp stove.
Soon it’s flooded river after flooded river and my feet are soaked through. As I walk along my shoes make a sticky thwup thwup thwup noise and water oozes though their mesh sides. I mark the mid morning hours by a big steep climb that lasts a good long while as clouds gather and churn to the south and west. I break mid-climb (1000 feet maybe) and eat nuts and seeds, like a forest animal. The clouds build and it’s definitely storming out in those mountains, but not my mountains.
I pitch down, holy meadows spread out, the single track turns sandy and makes its ribbon along the earth. I head up for Benson Pass, my first pass north of the High Sierra.
But Benson Pass is no joke. It’s hard, hard. I’m not prepared for the terrain and I let myself get a little dehydrated, so I down some electrolytes. My bad mood continues and the trail makes a decision for me. It says, “Get it together, or get off.” But I cant leave this place, so I’ll stay. I don’t think anyone can remain in an unsound mind out here and do this thru-hike, the two cannot coexist. And so I put the mind demons behind me, at least as best as I can, and focus on the pass. The way grows easier, or perhaps it’s just the electrolytes working away in my body.
Summit the pass, clouds threaten rain but never do, trail turns to marsh and old snow melt. I pass a lake and continue on dropping 500 feet in a quarter mile. Campsite is among the hordes of mosquitos that call these places home and I can hear a giant waterfall, trying to clear all the water away as fast as it can. I take a bath in Deet and feel the poison sink into my skin. I hate using Deet, but mosquitos can make a person do crazy things.
I thought often these past few days of some words written by Samuel Beckett: “I’ll go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” Sometimes that’s just how things go, both in life and in a thru-hike.