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First title: Three Deer Butts Later
Second title: The Greenest Lunch
Third title: Fiddleheads and Hummingbirds
How could I pick one title for today out of those?! It was a great day. We got lost for just a moment first thing, but were back on track by 7, hiking strong. Camp Glenwood is right near Hwy 2, which we have been crossing many times, and we crossed too early after missing where the PCT leaves the dirt road we'd been on. I saw another deer, the third one of the trip for me, as she was bounding away over a hill... this made me happyas I very much enjoy the company of deer, even if they say but a short time.
Last night I dreamt that I had vanilla soy ice cream, with me on the trail. It was only a little melts, which would really be fine with me! And also, the Neo Air is officially dead. I woke up twice and blew it up again as it was completely flat.... at midnight, it was utterly flat once again and I left it that way. I'm actually surprised at how little this bothered me- the holes in these things can be difficult to find and the replacement cost is substantial... R.I.P. NeoAir.
Anyways, back to hiking strong... I'd suggested to Kaye the night before that we shoot for Mill Creek to camp, meaning a longer day, and it felt good to have a goal and plan. Water was a bit more scarce for this stretch and dry camping is fine but it's much more enjoyable to camp near a source. We actually overshot and missed the next planned water stop by accident and so kept going... it was warm enough to drink more but not dangerous to go forward instead of backtrack...
Midday we hit Fiddlehead Spring, and we were both out of water. This spring is listed on the water report, and there was water, but it was down to such a low trickle that someone had stuck a stick in the mud to coax the water out in order to catch it in a receptacle, in our case, my cooking pot... we were pretty sure this was Fiddlehead Spring, and not a random seasonal flow, as it was overgrown with the ferns... it was actually quite pretty and my spirits were high enough that having to wait on water didn't phase me the least. I climbed up the embankment carefully because I noticed a tiny pool into which I could dip the top of my pot and sort of bail additional grams of water into the slowly filling pot below. Then we could filter it.
As I stood up there, bailed a little, and stood up again, a gorgeous yellow and black bird with a red cap arrived to have a drink... also growing here were willow bushes and other bright green, happy plants so the bird could drink with us there and still feel safe... after that birdie was done drinking, two hummingbirds also came, making their cute little sounds of a cross between chirping and squeaking, wings buzzing however many hundreds of times per minute... I stood very still so as not to frighten them off. The female was perched very near and then she took flight and came over to me, hovering to within a foot and a half! I would love to think she was actually wondering as much about what I was thinking as I was wondering about what she was thinking... she landed on a willow shoot very very near my head for a long 15 or 20 seconds, and my delight soared-even as she was then off again to track down her mate. Just lovely!
We filtered one liter to share and continued to the next water source through more burned area (the Station Fire)... lunchtime was in a mostly shady spot right on the trail and I had the last of my avocado on frenchbread and Veggie Pirate Booty, so green and so yum! I found an awesome and only a little bit scary rock to stand on and many more flowers to admire.
At around 2 who comes up the trail but Thomas, the older gentleman who gave us a lift into Wrightwood... we thought this was a bit strange, but it seemed that he needed company. He hiked with us the rest of the way down to Mill Creek Summit, our goal, which included a several mile road walk on hard compacted dirt. We don't know if this detour was due to a toad (one story) or due to severe trail damage from the fire (another story). Regardless, we camped at Mill Creek, which isn't a summit at all, OR a creek, but where they are rebuilding the fire station that was burned down.
The camp spot is actually a very old/abandoned rest stop, no longer maintained, and practically circled by a highway used by crazy commuters. We got water from the construction site and then Thomas made a suggestion: we could go through our packs and give him all of our needed gear, which he could drive to the Sauffley's in Agna Dulce, our next stop. If we did this, we could do the remaining 34 miles under way less weight... we took him up on it and I was compelled to give up my tent!! The weather was supposedly going to be crystal clear... I also removed the top portion of my pack, called the" brain," and a bunch of other stuff... and my pack got really light... but I still couldn't believe I didn't have my brain!
Thus my first night cowboy camping, meaning no tent to provide my false sense of security! I was really excited and nervous, but ready.