South Fork Scott River to Little Cub Spring (1576.5 to 1604.7)
Daily miles: 28.2
The creek kept the air nice and cool all night long and when I woke and walked down to it, it was still there. Little terraces full of water cascading down and the stream-plants spread out over the tumble, fanning the air.
Off I go, straight up until I enter the Russian Wilderness with a huge valley and rocky slopes where the trail’s cut right into the rock and I can see it creeping up into the sky. Telling me to come on. So I oblige, trekking poles going furiously until I’m at the top and I stop for a rest.
I take a late lunch at Payne’s Lake, which I have to myself. I take a good long swim and go out towards the middle where the water’s cooler. Above the surface of the water a mountain rises up and I’m reminded I’m hungry, so I swim ashore and eat and let the sun dry me.
Setting out all clean and fed and hydrated, I walk up and up until there’s a whole valley spread out before me and a perfect lake nestled in these high mountains with only me to gaze upon it.
I choose not to go into the town of Etna for a resupply, letting the food I have suffice. We’ll see how well that goes. A kind women is at the road when I cross, offering me a ride to town, which I decline. Go figure, a quick and easy hitch when I don’t even need it.
Instead I keep along this rocky road, taking it easy and making sure not to twist my ankles. The sun is long in setting tonight, keeping me hot and this whole world well-lit. I’ll just have to look at the wilderness a little but extra tonight. Such is my burden…