July 8 (Day 68)

CS1041.4 to CS1053.2 (1041.4 to 1053.2)

Daily miles: 11.8

*I have no pictures of today because my external drive on my phone is malfunctioning.  If I can recover them I’ll add pics later.

I’m cheating this year by totally skipping summer.  While everyone else is baking in the heat and humidity I’m having none of it.  The past few days have been like autumn, with the morning air feeling cool and clean so that I put on a jacket and start hiking and feel warm.  It’s pleasant to hike in a jacket.  After thirty minutes or an hour I don’t need it any more so I take it off and feel the light breeze as it drafts through my green flannel hiking shirt.  My legs are impervious to heat or cold or pain.  But not insects.  Insects like my legs.

The sky is half blue, half high clouds which cover the sun.  Westward mountains are bright and shiny, but I hike in the shade.  Slow easy strides.  No rush, no bugs up here to outrun as I approach a saddle.

A man walks by and we exchange good-mornings.  “It’s amazing up here!” He beams as he walks by.  And of course, he’s right.  The PCT is a dream.

In the late afternoon, when I reach my campsite for the night, I decide to do some cross country hiking.  It’s early yet, only 4, so I set up my tent and toss gear I won’t need inside.  Then, I head up into the jagged peaks behind me.  It’s slow going, there’s no trail after all, and I slip on loose rock with nearly every step.  Noone’s thought to clean up this part of the wilderness from natural debris. And so I go up, narrowly avoiding at least a dozen skinned knees and find a saddle to sit on.  There’s a chimney-like formation up here and solid jagged spires all around me, volcanic rock.  I eat a Milky Way bar and look out to see the thread of trail stretching below me.  Occasionally a hiker passes along, moving slowly from the distance, and then I see them disappear.  I listen to “A Brief History of Nearly  Everything,” by Bill Bryson and munch on my candy bar.  It’s an appropriate snack for the book, at least the beginning, so I smile at the coincidence.  I carefully find my way back to my tent and talk with a man from Great Britain about their whole fiasco, since I don’t get much news out in the woods and am painfully uninformed.  He says he’s giving his country until the end of September to work things out, right around the time he plans to finish his hike.  We laugh, eat our dinners, and then go our separate ways to our respective sleeping bags.

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