July 21, 2017

Miles: 21

PNT mile 180.5

Camp: Vinal Creek Road, Montana

Apparently I was so conked out in the night that I missed the commotion of an animal near camp. I woke up only after the guys started talking about it and somehow easily drifted on back to sleep. I was quite tired and sometimes even the threat of a grizzly isn’t enough to keep me from sleeping. I probably would have been a lot more alert if I was alone, but having the 4 guys around certainly set me more at ease.

Righton and I were up and ready to go first this morning. I knew from past experience of hiking with this crew that I should get as much ground covered as I can early because keeping up with them is hard. My chafe was no better, starting to feel like a bad sunburn that was only aggravated by walking…and not much of a solution was available. I tried to ignore it and hoped for the best.

We made our way up and up to Mt. Henry where the wind whipped fiercely and I made friends with two of the sweetest dogs. Dogs are even better on trail because they really don’t mind our smells. At any rate, it was too cold to stay up top and we didn’t linger long…even though the views were as beautiful as one would expect and I could have pet those dogs all day.

The trail then had us making a dramatic descent only to climb yet another peak. We all decided that in the interest of time and the fact that we have seen most of the views already that we would take a suggested alternate around the next climb. We were all pretty beat!

The alternate turned out to be a magical stroll through an old growth cedar forest. Today reminded me of everything I love about the Pacific Northwest…the mountains, the trees, the solitude. I couldn’t ask for much more, but I have a hunch the trail will keep on delivering wonderful surprises.

For now, it is late and we have an early alarm set to get our miles in tomorrow.

Sweet sweet sleep.