Total Miles: 964.6
Not humid, but something masquerading as that. Close. Like the air had taken on a new quality, one that bound it more tightly around you. My tiny brain sought out some sort of explanation but found none. All I knew was that I was hot, and I had a salt stained shirt to prove it. This is why I guzzle electrolytes like I own stock in Gatorade and Pedialyte.
The morning miles had been kind though challenging, the lush shadiness we’d finally arrived in yesterday evening stretching itself over the sequence of passes and valleys that lie in front of us. Water was suddenly everywhere—babbling brooks cascading down into placid lakes, or vice versa. At last, this was the wilderness that lie beyond the neverending burn area we’d trudged through the past two days.
In at least a topographic sense, the CDT quite literally traces the backbone of America. Rough, complicated, and dividing the country asymmetrically, it’s an interesting metaphor for the nation itself. Having met some of the people living within spitting distance of that backbone, they too seem to embody the ruggedness of what runs through their backyard—a quiet, resilient sort of self-sufficiency with a sense of pride to match and a sizable helping of leeriness of the country that exists far from that backbone. Their backbone.
Like a rollercoaster, perpetually either ascending or descending, we sailed along up and over a series of four passes, each offering a new perspective on this beautiful range. For the first time, my favorite tree—the Western Larch—made an appearance as we neared each pass, its light and bright shade of soft green needles merely a facade until autumn ignites them in a golden yellow. Finding a home for the night among them, we were joined by visitors we hadn’t been bothered by for quite some time: mosquitoes. Nothing hurries you through the evening rituals quite like them.
Latitude/Longitude: 46.02534, -113.32014