August 8, 2017
PNT mile 237
Camp: Mile 237 on Boulder Creek with trail angel, Doug
Even though it rained last night, the air remained humid and smoky this morning. It wasn’t too hot yet as we walked the couple of miles into the tiny town of Orient. The town itself was quite sleepy at that morning hour, but we found the one restaurant in town open for breakfast. We all ordered eggs and sausage and probably drank close to 2 pots of coffee between the 3 of us.
It was a great way to start the day, but we also needed to get some miles walked so we hiked on. The road out of town was paved highway for another 5 miles which is just plain hard on the body. When we finally left that road for a forest service road it made a world of difference. The road was abandoned and was as close to a trail as it could be…enough so to be pleasant. There was shade and the road followed Boulder Creek as we headed to Kettle Crest.
We stopped for lunch at a campsite next to the river. Even with that large breakfast I didn’t stop eating once we sat. Pink made us split pea soup with bacon and I did some damage to my snacks as well. Soon enough I felt so full that I was afraid I’d be sick. Fortunately the hiker metabolism made it possible to hike on.
By late afternoon there was a lot of activity at a nearby ridge. Helicopters and small planes seemed to be working on a fire. We stopped and watched the helicopter circle, several times right above us. We thought it may have spotted us and we would again be evacuated from the trail due to fire. A forest service truck eventually made its way up to us and he said the fires were from last night’s lightning. They were small and contained so we didn’t have to worry about any closures ahead.
In order to make our miles we hiked until just before dark. We had our hearts set on a creekside campsite, but when we arrived it was occupied. We thought we would have to hike on in the dark before we saw that the site was taken by someone who welcomed hikers.
We walked into the site to meet a man named Doug who was there with his 2 dogs. We set up our tents and he fed us burgers with salad and wine. He said he was in the area picking huckleberries (they go for good money here) when he met his first hiker about a month ago. Since then, he took a lot of joy in his new role as a trail angel.
It was a pretty lucky thing for us! We sure ate well today! Now to rest.