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Feather River (Middle Fork)
The trail tread is so smooth you could play billiards on it now! Okay, slight exageration.
This country is a combination of viewless forested canyon traverses(viewless but still beautiful) and breathtaking exposed ridge walks. None of it is very extreme either in steepness or length between water sources. Yesterday I began my daily hike under thunder clouds and light rain due to the remains of a tropical storm. The smell of the rain upon the greenery under the forest canopy was intoxicating! Walking along, the brush painting my exposed legs with the perfume of a thousand flowers. The clouds began to lift as my trail began to climb.
After about two hours (8 am?) of hiking I ascended a knoll and about fifty yards up trail was a figure studying the trees with binoculars.. I knew at once who it was so I continued up very quietly, stalking to within 10 feet. He turned to look and after a double take he asked in astonishment, "Iceaxe?" Yes, it was Birdman!
We hiked together the rest of the day, catching up on all the trail gossip and exchanging stories of our tribes whereabouts and doings.
In fact I don't think either one of us stopped talking for 10 seconds all day! It was wonderful after being solo for so long to talk to someone I had shared so many miles with yet not seen since Kennedy Meadows south.
In the late afternoon we came to the Middle Fork Of the Feather River. The rocky landing under the footbridge became our beach for the last hours of daylight and we swam, basked, and ate a supper of Mac and cheese before hauling ourselves over the bridge to riverside camping in the sand.
Later, 12%, Bonanza Jellybean, and Bruiser joined us and we had a thru-hiker soiree though as always we were all asleep by 9 PM(Thru-hiker Midnight).
I did not realize how much I missed the company of hiker trash!
Of course that did not stop me from rolling out at 5:30 am this morning as is my custom. I know I will see them all again soon. I like to be Hiking before sunrise, kinda a game I play with the sun. Most other thru's see. To like to sleep in. Though I often stop early to bask in the last few hours of sunlight so sometimes they catch me so long as I don't use my turbo button too much.:-)
Today I will climb out of the canyon and perhaps take the Buck's lake alternate route. There are two restaurants and two stores along the 6.8 mile route.:-)
Then I will attain the summit before I crash for the evening so as to reach Beldens Post office before they close at 1pm tuesday.
Non hikers think we have no time constraints.. This is not always the case.So to avoid being "jammed" for time I like to be on-trail early and hammer out the big miles before noon. Some say "12 by 12PM" I prefer 15mi by 12PM myself.. Hey,that's why there is chocolate AND vanilla right? Everyone must HYOH (Hike Your Own Hike).
Anyhow, I am super strong now and more than fully recovered from the evil Giardia. The one beautiful thing about losing 30 lbs of body mass is that none of it came off my legs. At 150 lbs now I seem to be much quicker on the uphills and more nimble in the corners.:-)
Additionally it gives me a great excuse to eat like a pig at every opportunity, such as Buck's lake! Which I should be reaching today around lunchtime!
Looking ahead,literally, yesterday I had my first view of Lassen! A distant snow capped volcano that draws closer with every step I take.
In fact on of the revelations and most exhilatating things about this long distance hiking is that for the price of eating a few granola bars or perhaps a couple tortillas with honey and peanut butter(yum!) I can hold my "throttle" to the floor and send the world around me streaming by until the scenery has completely changed.
From my perpective, the forested climb becomes a mountain top vista in minutes. At times it seems the Earth is rolling beneath my feet and at the instuction of my will, like a seal upon a beachball, I roll playfully along.
P.S. Thanks everyone for comments. Not ignoring you, Can't respond to them on the Peek. Photos soon. Cheers-Iceaxe