This morning began as per usual. Bruce leaps out of the tent, organises himself quickly while I am a little slower, making coffee, taping my feet…you know just cruising. After trying to be patient Bruce left in a little huff, the mozzies where eating him alive!!
I finished packing my things, collected some water from the Spring and headed out to the trail around 7. Into the green abyss of the forest I went. Pine trunks covered in fluorescent green lichen shone in the morning light. Many logs had fallen over and so much scrambling and climbing had to be done. I walked along in silence, one ear listening to music, the other enjoying the forest sounds.
Small birds criss crossed my path and I waited in hope for any signs of a bear or a bob cat or you know just some wildlife. The forest intermittently opened out into some very cool rock formations. Volcanic boulders dot the landscape. Wildflowers in bloom of all colours and variety grow ubandabtly out the crevices and cracks. It was a welcome change from the forest, but I was also happy to get back into the dappled light and cool.
It was easy walking and I had done 10 miles by 10 am to Cub Spring. Ollie had mentioned he might stop at a Spring a few miles back so I went down the steep 300 feet collected water for the next 12 miles and waited by the trail under a tree to see if he arrived. I ate a museli bar and chatted to a day hiker who was out with his Labrador. It wasn’t as friendly or cute or smart or wise or lovable as my lab, but it’s always a treat to see a poochie on the trail. I began to wonder if I was going to spend the day solo hiking, I figured Bruce was way out ahead. He has legs that reach my shoulders and I just can’t keep up when he sets a pace. Just as I was about to eat some more snacks he came over the hill. He had stopped to ‘dig a hole’ and had fallen behind. He said he saw me pass but figured he was in to vulnerable position to yell out. He went and collected water and we walked on together. We chatted a little bit, fell silent and stopped for an early lunch under a huge volcanic formation which Ollie tried to climb. I sat and rested, eating my lunch and feeling quite lazy. The hiker with the dog we had seen earleir came back past us, he said he had been turned around by the snow. He wasn’t experienced enough and didn’t know how his dog would fare. We decided to get moving in case the snow was bad enough to hold us up also. It wasn’t, it was slushy and steep but easy enough to get through.
We walked to the HALF WAY MILE MARKER and took a break. As we sat there a doe wandered into the clearing near us, she either didn’t see us or didn’t mind us being so close to her. She passed behind us and wandered into the forest. Deer are like the kangaroo of America. There was a jar jar binks (from Star Wars – I don’t know how to spell his name because I’m obviously not that cool) figurine at the monument, on his wrist was attached a note “help me I need to get to Canada” it read. Ollie placed jah jah into his pack and decided to take him some of the way.
It was an easy 5 miles down to our campsite for the night. I sang songs to Bruce and nursed my sore heel. We arrived in camp just before 6, Ollie set the tent up, and made a fire while I washed in the creek and filtered water. The couple we had camped with yesterday arrived so we chatted and ate dinner with them again.
* I use Bruce and Ollie interchangeably for the same person.