Day 122 – meditations and mountains

August 3, 2016

Highway 23 (2226.4) to Riley Creek (2236.6)

Miles: 10.2

Our total miles: 1830.3

Andy woke up with a startle. He thought he was late for morning meditation. 

Then WHACK.

He sat up in a haste, forgetting he was on the bottom bunk. It was 5:45 am – he was not late after all. Andy crawled into Laurie’s bunk and we watched the pink alpine glow spread over the face of Mt. Adams while toasty under a down comforter.

This was a magical way to start the morning.

Just before 6:30am we walked across the driveway to the Zen Buddhist Temple. We joined 11 others in a morning meditation led by Master Kozen.

Kozen spoke about awareness and how we can only change ourselves, not others or our environment. He shared a quote that resonated with both of us: “You cannot carpet the world, but you can wear slippers.”

It was a great reminder – particularly as we continue on this trail with unforeseen challenges. We are always in control of our attitudes and no matter how bothersome the mosquitoes or rain, we feel so fortunate to be out here. 

And like most Buddhist teachings remind us, this experience is transitory and awareness is the best tool to cherish these last 900 miles.

After meditation we chatted with a woman who had started the PCT earlier this year with her family. Her warmth and excitement about the trail was heart warming. 

She offered us a ride to the trailhead and to cook dinner for us that night. We were so tempted to stay another day to spend more time with her and her family, but alas the trail called and we wanted to take advantage of the good weather window for the Goat Rocks.

With 30 minutes to spare before breakfast we wandered around the property and said good morning to the llamas. 

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast with the other B&B guests before packing our things and attempting to upload as many posts as we could in a short amount of time. No matter how early we start our day, there never seems to be enough to time to do it all!

We are sad we were not able to walk to the neighbor’s house to say goodbye to the woman we had met earlier this morning. We need to continue to work on not over committing ourselves on short neros and zeroes. 

The day before we had organized a ride back up to the trail with Dave who was bringing up a bucket full of trail magic for hikers. We picked up Toaster and Smudge at the general store and all rode up together.

We purposefully choose to slow down in this section. It is one of the best on the trail and we want to soak it all in. We plan to take a little over 4 days to hike 66 miles.

With only 10 miles on the agenda we took our time. We picked huckleberries, took pictures of flowers and enjoyed the sunshine.

We walked through a large burn area, admiring the fields of lupine and paintbrush. Fluorescent pink paintbrush neighbored orange and pale pink ones. 

The wildflowers made us both smile. We feel so fortunate to have had this showcase of flowers. It’s been the best since Northern California.

All the while Mt Adams loomed in front of us. We walked around to the west side of the mountain, watching the afternoon clouds obscure the top. 

Sections of the trail were narrow trenches etched deep in meadows of wildflowers. These are Laurie’s favorite types of trails. 

About 2 miles from camp we turned a corner to an expansive view of Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier. Incredible!

We crossed Riley Creek and searched for campsites. We found a grassy spot with room for about 3 tents. We set up near a woman named Julie who is hiking with her dog Custard. We met them 2 days ago at Blue Lake, then ran into them again at Bear Lake. 

We chatted a bit and offered her some of our extra food. Apparently we are attached to our food because we keep carrying too much. We now try to provide trail magic along the trail whenever we can.

The clouds parted and we ate dinner in the refuge of our tent admiring the glaciers on Mt Adams. This campsite is pretty epic.

We had 18 Rabbits granola with huckleberries for desert and man was it delicious! We are loving this pick-and-eat-as-you-hike business. 

It was 7 pm and we had eaten and organized food for the next day. We don’t know what to do with ourselves when we stop hiking this early!

As the alpine glow faded from the face of Mt Adams we got out to brush our teeth. 

Andy reluctantly put on the fly to combat some of the meadow condensation. As he was pulling the fly taught one of the poles popped out of its connector. The tent collapsed and the pole ripped a hole in the fly.

Whoops!

Thankfully Andy was able to screw the pole back in and we placed duck tape on the hole. Gotta love easy backcountry fixes 🙂

We fall asleep tonight to the sound of insects and running water.

Tonight we are grateful for still being on trail together and for duct tape.

Left to right: Toaster, Smudge, Dave (our ride), Dribbles & Shuffles

Mt Rainier we are coming for you!

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