Rain and Fire and Bears
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 29
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Today had just as much climbing as yesterday, but not nearly as much spectacular
scenery.  The steep rocky crags are giving way to forested hills.  I kind of prefer the hills.  
The trail tends to be a lot flatter there.

The trail dropped 2,000 feet into a valley this morning.  A drop like that could easily be
accomplished with three miles of switchbacks, but whoever designed this stretch thought
six miles would be more fun.  I walked back and forth for hours without really going down.  
I think my blood pressure was up a bit by the time I finally got to the bottom.  On a positive
note, another jet flew by on my way down.  Once again, it went too fast to snap a picture.

On my walk today I also saw one bear running away (the direction I prefer to see bears
running in), and dozens of weekend warrior type backpackers.  I get a kick out of all the
weird things they bring, but they walk really slow and are always in the way.  I also hate
making small talk all day.  At least another day passed without rain.
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I set off at dawn, hoping to make it to town before the post office closed.  I walked by
dozens of weekend warrior campsites, and by about 10:00 a lot of them were up and
moving.  About half of them asked me if they were still on the PCT.  The trail was very well
marked and easy to follow.  Perhaps they should learn how to read a map before they go
into the woods.

I happened upon an overweight man who had just fallen on a very easy stream crossing.  
He and his pack were soaked.  He asked me if there were any more hard stream
crossings.  I told him there weren't really any hard stream crossings in this section, but
most were more difficult than the one he just fell in.  I walked easily across the row of
boulders in the stream and left him to dry out.

I made it to the road by 3:00.  From there, it's sixteen miles to town, and there was lots of
traffic going by fast.  It looked like a hard hitch, but I was picked up after only ten minutes
by a couple of musicians from Canada.

The Dinsmore's live in Skyhomish, and they are great trail angels.  The lady at the post
office gave me their number, and I'm staying with them tonight.  There were five other
hikers there already, and they cooked us all a great meal of barbecued hamburgers.  After
dinner we set around their fire pit for a while, then retired to the hiker loft above their
garage.  The best part was the fact that I got a hot shower and did my laundry.
I spent the day at the Dinsmore's.  It's a really great place, and I don't want to leave, but I'll
hit the trail tomorrow.

I bought my plane ticket home today.  I go back to Iowa the 29th.  I really don't know how I
feel about going home yet.
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I wanted to hit the trail at about 9:00 this morning, but everyone was going into town for
breakfast.  I couldn't pass that up.  Our food was really good, but it took forever to come.  
We were at the restaurant for over an hour.  Then the other two hikers heading out today
hadn't packed yet, so I had to wait for them.  We finally made it to the trailhead at 11:30.

There was a thunderstorm last night, and there were fires all over in the forest.  It was neat
watching the big helicopters dropping water.  There is one burning ahead of me, but it
appears to be west of the trail, so hopefully it won't turn out like California.

Once again, there were way too many people on the trail.  I did get a kick out of some of
the stuff people had with them.  One guy had a hammer and a hatchet hanging from his
pack.  He must have been planning on building something.  Another was carrying a five
gallon bucket strapped to the top of his pack.  I assume it was his idea of a bear canister.  
I'm sure a bear can open a five gallon bucket, and if he had five gallons of food, he had
way too much food!

The trail made a long steep climb and I left all the people behind.  I found a nice, but
mosquito infested, campsite by a lake.  It's raining right now, which is good for the fives,
but I hope it stops by morning.
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