Total distance: 1153.8
When I was in Maine while hiking the AT I remember being deeply affected by the wind in a way I never had before and feeling so affected by the coldness it brought or the push that it gave. I remember using it to remind myself of a spiritual presence and to be conscious of all that surrounds me. Everytime the wind blew I would think of where I was and what it was that was behind all that I was experiencing. That same mentality has bled over onto this trail and I have been affecting by wind in the same way and have had some very magical and powerful moments while being blown around in the coming and going of the breeze. Today was another one of those days.
I woke up this morning feeling rested and crawled out of my tent to be met by a million mosquitos. They hadn’t missed a beat from yesterday’s destruction and carried on trying to cover every inch of my body that was showing. Petunia and I got moving quickly and took off down the trail to run from the nuisance.
The first few miles of our day were easy with low grade in a dense pine forest with neon green lichen growing halfway up every tree around us. We busted up two climbs without breaking a sweat and finally had found our way into the clearing where wind kept the mosquitos away from us.
We enjoyed a few more breaks than usual today and kept a solid 3 mph pace as the day went on. Fields of lupin and lambs ear covered the meadows and granite rock laid beneath our feet. The skies were blue all day and a subtle breeze consistently spread through the area.
On our final climb of the day we summited an exposed ridge line with a 360 view and an incredible gust of wind rushed past our weary bodies. We had been told there was a free beer at the ski range at the bottom of the hill so we didn’t stop for long on our decent into the valley. Throughout the day we kept repeating the word “beer” in hopes to motivate the other up the climbs we had.
Once we were on the ridge line we both took a moment to marvel at the expanse before us. We could see for miles in all directions and we’re going to be on a skinny line walking across a ridge for the next few miles. The trail was seen snaking its way into the valley for the remaining three miles we had. It was absolutely spectacular to stand on top of that ridge and feel the rushing wind carry my body further down the trail and to see its power as it swept across the green meadows beneath us. The pines were dancing to their song and our hearts were lifted by the movement. Wind will always be a reminder to me if the hidden force behind all that we see and all that we know. What is invisible to us can be felt or experienced in ways that validate its existence if you have the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart to feel.
We got to the ski ranch around 6 and got our beers to begin a conversation with a lovely, healthy, middle-aged couple about their lives, relationship, wisdom and experiences. We talked for an hour while Petunia and I had a few drinks to wind down after a long day. The couple bought our last beer and took a picture with us outside in front of an orange lit mountain as our backdrop. We said our goodbyes and went to find our spot for the night. We slowly stumbled half a mile to a camp spot and set up our area after spending a minute to revil in the beauty of color that cast its mark upon the lake below.
I am cowboy camping tonight with a head net on and praying the wind picks up. The mosquitos are blaring all around and don’t appear to winding down anytime soon. I hope for a good nights rest in the warm air above donner pass to begin another day of thirty miles and the last one I will spend with Petunia. Here’s to the wind.