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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Riv's 2015 PCT, Day 62, Part 2

Day 62, Wednesday, Augusr 26, Part 2

Continued from Day 62, Part 1

Photo 4. Second breakfast stop at the top of the pass. First cell coverage since leaving Snohomish Pass. I get an email about a posting on Facebook PCT 2015 page. I read it and respond, then get a message from my dear trail friend and mentor Meander (who started with me at the Mexican border in 2013, and with whom I camped intermittently and shared rooms in trail towns for that first section and who mentored me in a thousand ways on the ways of the trail) saying that he was driving to "PCT Days" at Cascade Locks (at Oregon-Washington border) and was just an hour and fifteen minutes beyond Stevens Pass and was going to turn around and come meet me got breakfast! I cannot tell you how often I had fantasized asking Meander if he would meet me at Harts Pass and hike the last 60 miles with me (so it would be like bookends)-- this totally chance and spontaneous connection at the end of my journey felt like amazing trail magic. 

Photo 5. Before connecting with Meander, eating a slow breakfast, caressing the mountains with my eyes, watching the little seeds with their star-wings break away from the mother plant. Can you believe the trail arranged this little parable-reminder for my last breakfast. Letting go, drifting whatever way the wind may blow. Not so easy. 

Photo 6. Meander and me at breakfast at Cascadia Inn Cafe in Skykomish. I fell in love with him all over again. 

Photo 7. Chrissy and me on the ferry approaching Orcas Osland. 

So much more to say. Too suspended between worlds to say it. I am like the spider who leaps into the wind before she discovers where she can attach the other end of her web-thread. We are continually called to re-weave and re-imagine ourselves and our lives, aren't we? Just who is this River, with no trail to walk down?

What a wonderful walk it has been. Thank you again and again for walking with me. 

And now the adventure of re-turning to this unknown mysterious center called home. 

Riv's 2015 PCT, Day 62, Part 1

Day 62, Wednesday, August 26, Part 1

From campsite at Lake Susan Jane PCT mile 2457.34, elev. 4577, walked 4.28 miles to Stevens Pass  at PCT mile 2461.62, elev. 4053. Total a up/down: +850/-1273. 

Dear Trail Friends

I am sitting in the ferry line with Chris in definite culture shock. I am not on the trail anymore but it is going to take awhile to "get" that i'm not-- that I don't need my bandana with me at all times, don't need to closely monitor my iPhone charge, don't need to keep my pack and sticks by my side, don't need to keep walking, don't need to (and can't) just pee thru my p/style or dig a hole when it's time to poop -- and countless other small changes. The trail is a way of life, a set of habits, a culture, an identity. I am suspended between worlds: the challenge of re-entry. And it isn't ever truly "re"-entry, is it? You never stand in the same river twice; you never return to the same home that you left. 

I woke up early this morning after a deep and peaceful sleep in the tent that has been such a comforting movable home for me these past two months. I didn't want to arrive too early, so I read Carrot Quinn's book for awhile ( age was hiking the very sections I have just been hiking, so it was especially fun, though I must say I envy her ability to describe both the trail and her experience in language). 

I began hiking at 6 am. Just as the trail arranged a beautiful sunset for me night before last (complete with the sighting of Mt Baker, which even if it was a case of mistaken identity -- one man told me it was more likely to have been Glacier Peak--made for a transcendent moment for me),this morning we had a gorgeous sunrise--a reminder that this is not only an ending but also a beginning. 

Photo 1. Just in case you don't believe I was camped beside a lake ( it didn't show in yesterday's photo), here is the lake as I started down the trail just as I step out of my campsite. 

Photo 2. The whole sky celebrating the beginning of something new. 

Photo 3. Hiking up to my last pass, kissing the mountains goodbye with every step, with every glance. Whispering to them "I will always love you."

To be continued in Day 62, Part 2 

Riv's 2015 PCT, Day 61, Part 2

Day 61, Tuesday, August 25, Part 2

Oh my gosh. Here I am at 8:10 in my tent at Lake Susan Jane, just 4 1/4 miles from Stevens Pass where I will meet Chris tomorrow morning at about 11am

But did I ever go through some drama getting here. It began during my noon rest stop, when I took my second Tylenol and naproxen of the day. I was keenly aware that the walk had been difficult at first and I suspect it was because I did not take a nighttime dose of naproxen and it took a long time in the morning for the medication to take effect. And then I discovered I had only one naproxen left--not enough to cover tomorrow's hike. At that point I decided I had to hike all the way to Stevens Pass. I knew I could not hike on that ankle yet without medication. So...I see Stevens Pass is about 8 3/4 miles, with elevation gain of about 2000 ft, and I calculate that it will take me 6 hours if I can take only one rest stop and limit it to 30 minutes. It's already 12:30, so that would make it 6:30 at the earliest and I'd still have to hitch into town.

So I'm off hiking as fast as I can and a little bewildered that I have to adjust my pokes right away to going uphill (wasn't I going downhill before the break? Odd it would switch so fast. Oh well. ). Then very bewildered when my app tells me it is now 9 3/4 miles to Stevens Pass. This app is really messed up, it really isn't working right, the distance can't be getting bigger. Unless. Unless I am hiking the wrong way. And as you have guessed (more quickly than I did, I am sure) I was indeed hiking the wrong way. I turned around. I had a mile to backtrack. Now it would be 7:30 at the earliest. I really needed to arrive before dark so I could hitch and it was supposed to be a difficult hitch. Could take an hour. 

Look I say to myself. All this may not be necessary. Some hiker may come along who you can ask for ibuprofen. (Yeah I prefer naproxen but in an emergency ibuprofen will do). Odds are I will meet a hiker. Odds are they will have ibuprofen. Odds are they will be able to spare some. But -- I can't count on it. Keep on hiking as fast as I can (thank goodness the ankle has begun to calm down). 

And then I am overtaken by Kirby, a hiker hiking with his wife Blanket who I first met several days ago at Athens same water spot where I met JJ. Yesterday Kirby told me they were taking it slow (yesterday I was hurrying out), today they were hiking out. Kirby was sick and tired of sleeping in the wilderness. Did he have ibuprofen? Sure, take all you want. Blanket catches up and asks if I want any food. I ask about trail mix and she gives me a ziplock bag half full of trail mix. 

They hike off much faster than me (after I get their "real names" and addresses for my thank you list). And suddenly I am not rushing anymore, I am relaxing again. Except that it's hard (especially for an adrenaline addict such as me) to turn the arousal down. 

I hiked slowly to the next lake. I sat on the sun. But I was itchy to be on an adrenaline trajectory, on a mission. I didn't know how to just sit there and be and enjoy. I couldn't persuade myself to get into the muddy water. But I did rinse out my socks, gaiters, bandana, pants, underpants (of which I now have only the one pair I wear), and shirt. And I washed and wiped off the worst dirt with the bandana. By the way, obviously I had to do parts of that nude -- hoping no one would come along who would find it too embarrassing. Just before I got to the lake I passed a male hiker wearing nothing but a backpack (actually he probably wore socks and shoes, I have to admit my eyes went straight to the dark pubic hair and make genitals just under the hip strap and I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. He was singing "merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream" as he passed. That was a first in my 2000+ miles on the trail. 

But what really brought me out of my somewhat grim adrenaline-deprived mood was meeting a family on the trail. A father and two young sons, one of whom had never backpacked before. Dad commented that Mom was back a ways on the trail with grandpa, who was having trouble. I hiked on thinking of Grandpa and how (I think) it's harder for older people to adjust to elevation changes. So I get to Mom and Grandpa --who takes one look at me and says "tell me you're 48. " and I try to get grandpa to accept a little packet of endurolytes (electrolytes) and one of iron.  Grandpa seems reluctant but Mom accepts them just in case. Grandpa says he has lunch with buddies he's known since grade school. "Alright with you if I tell them I met my drug pusher on the trail?"

I left happy as could be. Like when that little bird led me down the trail. So happy to have noticed, cared, wanted to help--whether it would actually help or not. I felt great. 

I forgot to mention that at Mig Lake I met Jonah again, a young man I have enjoyed talking with very much. This time I asked about his trail name -- he said lots of trail names are lighthearted jokes but his emerged from serious conversation. (Not surprising for my young philosophy major trail friend). He told a trail friend, Hummingbird, that he had tried to"cure" himself of religion, of a need for God, but had failed. Something bigger than himself had engulfed him. He showed me his tattoo of a little man inside a big whale. "That's your trail name" Hummingbird said. "Jonah."

Photo 3. Kirby and Blanket my trail angels who gave me ibuprofen and trail mix. 

Photo 4. Jonah. 

Photo 5. Mig Lake my second water stop where I washed my clothes and ran into Jonah again (after not seeing him for at least a week). 

Photo 6. View from my tent at Lake Susan Jane. I know you can't see the lake, but she's there. Turns out Jonah camped here too and if he hadn't found a ride to Skykomish before Chris arrives, I told him we'd give him a ride. 

Coming over the last pass I did get a brief weak signal but was able to call Chris and confirm our meeting tomorrow. A big relief for both of us!

Happy trails -- tomorrow really will be my last day on the trail. At least for now. 

Riv's 2015 PCT, Day 61, Part 1

Day 61, Tuesday, August 24

From campsite at PCT mile 2446.40, elev. 5528, Walked 10.94 miles (plus 2 mile "excursion" walking in wrong direction and backtracking) to campsite at Lake Susan Jane PCT mile 2457.34, elev. 4577. Total up/down: +2682/-3240 (plus extra for my excursion!)

Just for fun:
My whole PCT hike done in sections starting March 2013:
Campo to Bucks Lake Crossing - 1275.40. Up/down: +236,521/-233,919
Burney Falls to Stevens Pass-1045.73 miles,  +182,102/-281,021.
Grand Total for Riv's 2013-2015 PCT Hikes--2320 miles.  Up +418,623; down -514,940 ft. 

And for the 2015 section hike
Burney Falls to Timberline-678.59 miles. +108,668/-105,598
Chinook Pass to Stevens Pass-140.58, +31,958/-33,342
Slightly less grand total for 2015 hike: 819.17 miles, +140,626/-138,940.

Dear Trail Friends,

Because I tend to emphasize the pieces of the trail that  I did not do -- the 187.5 miles from Stevens Pass to Canada and the 157 from Bucks Lake to Burney Falls, I thought it would be good to look at the 2320 miles I actually DID HIKE and celebrate that together. (The numbers don't quite add up right to the 2650 total, but they're the numbers the app gave me so I'll go with them. My two apps are constantly measuring the distance between two points differently. So, per Emerson, "consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds ")

I accomplished something I did not think I was capable of. I experienced things, places, people, degrees of happiness that have changed forever my sense of what is possible in life. Now, isn't that something? And I've discovered that writing can be a way of connecting with people who care, and receiving their support, in a way that can expand possibilities. 

I actually wrote those two paragraphs last night (Monday). Now it is Tuesday morning, 10am, I am sitting by a small gurgling stream 5 miles into my hike. I am seriously considering sleeping 4 miles outside of Stevens Pass. Why should I hurry? I ask myself. Who knows when (or even if) I will sleep in the wilderness again?

I recall my friend Judith Cope asking me if the magnetism of the earth was something I could actually feel. I thought of that just now as I stretched out my legs beyond my little folded foam sitting pad and I felt the physical contact with the earth. I don't know if it is magnetism I feel, I don't know what it is. It reminds me a little of the strange inexplicable magic of sexual attraction: how physical contact with a particular person creates waves of sensation that the same contact with another person would not. What does that sensation consist of? I don't know. But contact with the earth feels both soothing and comforting, on the one hand, and energizing and exciting on the other. Ever since I was little girl I knew that the earth and trees were good places to be for me. I could feel held and loved in the womb-like space underneath our little juniper shrub in our front yard in San Diego. Everywhere I went I would find a "special tree" I could turn to for solace and a sense of belonging. The earth itself -- lying on the ground--felt similarly. 

I am reading a blog-based book called Thru/Hiking Will Break Your Heart, by Carrot Quinn. I am interested to hear her describe a similar sense of connection with trees. I wonder how common it is. 

I am sitting in the sun. Listening to the soft flow of the stream. Hearing insects buzz. Wondering why I would want to rush to town and sleep in a room. I am not that hungry for hot food. I am not that desperate for a shower and clean clothes. I would love to have cell coverage to check in with Chris but couldn't it wait one more day? (I have been disappointed that in all the "promised" places, per the cell coverage report, coverage has failed to turn up. )

Photo 1. Just after my first climb this morning of about 1500 feet, I walk through a pass (with no cell coverage - wah!) and look down on this like. As I hike the rim trail above it I watch hundreds and thousands of little seeds (wearing white puffy star-shaped wing/parachute gear) drift up and down,this way and that way. Once again I think of how letting go and relinquishing is part of catching the next new wave. Since my retirement,hiking the PCT has been my guiding passion. It has given beauty, meaning, structure and focus to my life. 

I think of how Chris asked me to experiment with living without dogs -- an immensely difficult letting go,for me. And yet, from that relinquishing I floated like one of those seeds on its puffy star to the Camino and then to the PCT. 

When I was a little girl I wondered how spiders (who could not fly) were able to build the bridges between limbs that made their webs possible. I read that they attached one end of the threads and let go. They went wherever the wind took them, to attach the other end of the thread. 

Whether I hike the remaining small sections next summer or not,I am starting to let go of the PCT. I would dearly love to try a thru-hike,to spend five to six months out of doors in the wilderness. I would love to attempt another wilderness trail. 

But I would also like to discover and live shared dreams with Chris. The PCT has taught me that I am tougher and more persistent and resilient than I knew I was. I can face,now,the daunting challenges of Chris and my aging with a new kind of confidence. Yes I will make mistakes,  just like I lost things (including the trail itself) innumerable times. But I am capable of refraining from blaming, refraining from arguing with what is, and focusing on what needs to be done. And just as my abilities were enough ( with a lot of luck and help from the human and non-human universe) to walk over 2000 miles, they may well see me through the walk ahead through the losses and beauties of aging to the very edge of the mystery: death. The last letting go, when the seed truly drifts off into whatever winds blow. 

You notice I am sitting here for a hour beside this creek writing when I could be walking?philosophizing about letting go while doing all that I can to prolong my sojourn in this enchanted land? We humans are nothing if not creatures of contradiction. 

Photo 2. This little stream crossing the trail, beside which I sit, writing. 

Time to walk now. For awhile. It is such an exquisitely delicate time, this time of consciously ending. Learning to let go. How comforting to listen to the flow of the stream and let it bring to mind the cartoon I imagined when I chose (or was chosen by) my name: the cartoon of a river, trying to reach out and cling to her banks. 

I have been thinking about the Joyce quotes I recall from my high school years, and revising them. 

"Nothing is more loathsome than the self-loathing of a self one loathes" becomes "Nothing is more wondrous than the self-wonder of a self who inspires one to wonder. "

"The sentimentalist is he who will not acknowledge the indebtedness incurred by a thing done" becomes "the wise woman is she who can acknowledge the indebtedness incurred by a thing - or a being- truly experienced. "

Then there is the quote I used in my valedictorian speech in 1965, half a century ago: "what have I learned? Of them? Of me?"  Now all these years later as I prepare for my 50th high school reunion (very much a sequel to this hike), I know what I have learned.  That we are each a mystery to ourselves and each other. That no one can be fully known. There is always the possibility of new discoveries, wonders, unknowns. It is possible at any moment to fall in love with the perceived enemy, or to want to fight to the death with the perceived beloved. That there is always so much more to be learned. 

You notice I did not get up and go, even though I said I would. How much of our actions emerge from consciousness, really, and how much from the workings of that more vast and silent self we call the unconscious (and I call the "foot soldiers" on this hike)?

When that self decides to get up and go, I will go. Mostly she takes orders from the general (the brain) though it isn't entirely clear that those orders truly originate in the conscious brain, much as the general would like to believe they do. 

To be continued in Day 61, Part 2

Riv's 2015 PCT, Day 60, Part 3

Day 60, Monday, August 24, Part 3

Just before I came to my tent site I had been thinking about Mt Baker, wondering where it was, sad I had not seen it. 

Then I saw this peak towering over the others. I checked my compass, it was to the northwest. I was pretty sure it had to be Mt Baker. Pretty thrilling if I think about this as a pilgrimage between my first landscape love (deserts and mountains outside San Diego) and my adult landscape love, Orcas Island. Because of course my baker is visible from Orcas. When I train on mt Constitution I am always excited to see whether Mt Baker is "out."  

And now suddenly here it is from the PCT. I may not to approach it, hike near it, and pass it as I have with Shasta, Adams, Hood, Rainier -- but I am seeing it. 

Photo 13: first glimpse of Mt Baker from the trail. 

And then? As I approach the campsite chosen only because it was halfway to Stevens Pass and near the pass that supposedly had cell coverage, I discover my campsite is one of the most beautiful I have slept in -- with a view of Mt Baker!

Funny how I'd been reflecting on how weekend and shorter term back packers often ask where you stayed last night, where you will stay tonight. They pick their sites because they are interesting places they want to experience, often beautiful lakes. And PCT hikers (Barbara would be an exception) often don't know how to respond "oh some campsite by the trail when I got too exhausted to go any further" or "hmmm-- it was PCT mike 2424, but I don't know anything else about it." Yet thru serendipity, or trail Magic, I wound up at a campsite far more perfect for what could be my last night on the trail than any campsite I would have deliberately chosen. 

Photo 14. View of Mt Baker from my campsite. 

So then I put up my tent and sit down to eat supper and watch the sunset. And I'm thinking that high places I. The mountains are the best places to watch sunsets, better than the beach even, and meanwhile the sky is putting on this special sunset event especially for me, knowing that I am thinking that this could be my last night on the trail. 

And knowing too that photos can't capture the magic of being present below a vast sky lit up with vivid luminous changing colors, but that it is important to me to try...

Photos 15. River trying to share the trail magic filling the whole sky. There's a "pink moment" at sunset too. 

Photo 16. My Baker sunset

Photos 17-18. River trying to capture the trail magic filling up the whole sky. 

Thank you so much for witnessing And sharing this very special journey. And if you haven't prayed yet for my knee and ankle to heal, it is definitely not too late. 

Happy trails. 

Riv's 2015 Hike, Day 60, Part 2

Day 60, Monday, August 24, Part 2

Continued from Day 60, Part 1

Photo 7. I hiked by a lovely lake called Deception Lake and part of me wishes I were camping there instead of trying to make it to Stevens Pass tomorrow. I soothed myself by imagining my friend Barbara and her sister Anita and her dog Angel camping there. Arriving early, by 5 or so, relaxing, enjoying the lake both in the evening and the morning. It gave me pleasure to imagine her there, so much so that I missed a turn in the trail and had to hike around and find it again!

I was also thinking about the ripples on a lake as little waves. That maybe it doesn't always have to be a great big wave that one rides. Sometimes the slightest subtlest ripples will do ( like those moments that I am so still and do present that my breath seems to barely move, barely disturb the air around me). So I chose the ripples on this lake for Bonnie's wave of the day. 

Photo 8: and then of course I was glad to be River and not Barbara as the trail led up to one of the most wonderful high mountain view trails I have walked on the whole PCT. I was so happy to be there. Another reason I hiked it was that the cell coverage report said there would be coverage at the pass at the top. (There was not.)

Photo 9:  looking back at Cathedral peak. We hiked by it when I was hiking with Flash in late morning but none of my photos turned out very well. 

Photo 10. This hiker and I crossed on the trail, she was hiking down, I was hiking up. "Don't I know you?" She said. Turns out she thru hiked in 2014 and we met in the spring (when I hiked down from Walker Pass near Bakersfield to the trail angel house "ziggy and the bear" near Palm Springs. She remembered that we camped together by a creek, that we had the same tent but that I was planning to get a new one for my Wonderland hike. She is a nurse practitioner who works with traumatized vets. 

Photo 11. The stunning view from this very special section of trail

Photo 12:after the pass,hiking down. Also beautiful. 

To be continued in Day 60, part 3. 

Riv's 2015 PCT, Day 60, Part 1

Day 60, Monday, August 24, Part 1

From campsite at PCT mile 2430.84, elev. 4222, walked 15.56 miles to campsite at PCT mile 2446.40, elev. 5528.  Total up/down: +4610/-3309. 

Dear Trail Friends,

Here I stand, on a rock promontory above perhaps the loveliest creek from which I have ever collected water on the trail. I am leaning against a boulder, my ankle and knee feeling fragile ( but I slept without significant pain and I am able to walk) and my gut feels fragile too -- my fourth day of diarrhea, not sure from what. I can't decide whether I feel sorry for myself or feel ridiculously lucky, or both. 

Lucky for sure to be in this beautiful place. The sound of the creek soothes and comforts; sitting and watching the flow, the swirling patterns of ripples, the reflections-- and looking up to see the golden morning brilliance on the mountain peaks--all this helps me realize how lucky I am. And how lucky that I am still walking, that I did it have to be helicoptered out with an injury that would prove to be temporarily (or even permanently) disabling. 

I am waiting for my gravity system to purify 2 liters of wAter. I don't want to eat, being just one mile out from where I camped. I am giving up inverted pose for now because it seems to make the knee and ankle injuries worse. I spent the early predawn hour in my tent reading so as not to leave until it was light (I don't think I have ever had a fall in the dark but still it seemed prudent not to hike in the dark with my injury). 

So I am whiling away the time talking with you. And I see I have succeeded -- my filtering is completed. Alleluia. 

Photo 1. View of my first water stop from rock promontory. 

Now I am in my tent and it is dark. I have so much I want to tell you about. First of all, what a miracle after what felt like a serious injury to be able to go on hiking pain free for a full day. Probably I was lucky and the injury pulled and stretched but did not tear muscles, ligaments, tendons. No doubt the maximum allowable doses of Naproxen and Tylenol helped. But what I attribute the miracle to is your prayers. As I went to sleep last night I felt as if I could feel myself surrounded by dozens and dozens of prayers. They were like soft winged angels fluttering in the air. My mother used to give me "butterfly kisses" with her eyelashes. They were soft and subtle presences like that in the air above my sleeping bag in the tent. I thank you with all my heart. Both for the healing, and for feeling so cared about. 

I was concerned about the injury today. Even though the ankle was clearly doing better, even though my overall energy levels were better ( though I could feel the physical energy being diverted into "repair and maintenance" work related to the injury, and also in my gut related to the diarrhea that has plagued me since Snoqualmie Pass ), I was very very concerned about the knee. I had hardly noticed it at the time of the accident. As long as I walked with poles it seemed fine. Then when I started to camp, as I walked without poles every step was a limp and an ouch, and I could not kneel on that knee or squat.  That made putting up ( and taking down) my tent quite a challenge, and even getting in and out, taking off shoes and socks. I was quite concerned and decided to do my best to hike a greater distance -- not for an experience of hiker community (yesterday's motive) but so I would only need to camp out one more night and could rest my knee Tuesday night in a motel. 

In fact, though I have been aware of both stiffness and weakness in the knee, I am amazed by what it can do. I managed to do stream crossings on rocks. They were scarier than before the injury but I did them. 

Photo 2: a beautiful rock/hopping stream crossing which probably would not have started my adrenaline going if not for my injured knee. However, I made it just fine.

I managed to clamber down rocks to creeks to collect water. It was slower and more difficult but I managed. 

And tonight when I put up my tent it was much easier than I expected. Though I could not go down on my right knee first, I found that if I began with my left knee and placed the right carefully beside it I could now kneel in both knees. (This morning I had to do all my kneeling chores cross legged). I think that is astounding recovery in one day, even allowing for the contribution of medications. 

My morning hike started slow. It was a tough uphill hike and my body was taxes I am sure by all the repair work on the injury. I took a much earlier rest break than planned. Shortly after that break a thru hiker passed me. We chatted briefly. His trail name was Flash. Then he slowed down and hiked with me and we chatted for a couple hours. I couldn't understand why he slowed down. I also noticed that he would pause and just stand and talk about the view. I found those standing tests puzzling but very very helpful. 
(Later I realized he was tuning into my body better than I was, and pausing to give me little rests.)

Photo 3:  Flash pointed out to me how white the central mountain was, how different from the gray in the left foreground or the reddish color below. 

He stopped for lunch and I went on. We met again at my second water stop. He stopped to chat and ask how my ankle and knee were doing. (I had told him about the injury). He said "you are a bionic woman. I don't need to worry about you."  After he left, I realized he had hiked with me because he was concerned about my injury. I found that very moving. 

Photo 4  Second water stop. Once again I feel soothed and comforted by moving water-- the sound and sight both. I filter water, wash my socks and bandana, and eat a snack. The three logs in the picture are how I crossed the creek. When I saw other people hesitate, I told them that using my pokes had helped me keep balance. A couple of people took their poles off their packs and used them. 

Photo 5. One of the men who seemed slightly hesitant about crossing (blue shirt) told me this is a week long hike with his son (tattoos) and his friend (green shirt) and his two sons ( not in photo). He and his son will climb a mountain together. It is the summer before his son leaves for college. They live in Seattle and he will go to Western Washington Univ. in Bellingham. 

Photo 6. Flash. My trail angel who walked with me because ( I realized only after he had left) he was concerned about my injury. People really do look after one another on the trail. 

To be continued in Day 60, Part 2