Mile 418 (Mill Creek Fire Station) – 436 (North Fork Ranger Station)
So windy and crap last night. Cold. I’m so glad I put my rainfly on, otherwise I’d be soaked. I slept like an old dog. Packing up in the wind is a real drag. There was a tiny scorpion under my tent so I guess I will never be cowboy camping ever again. The reviews on Guthooks said the bathrooms are stank. They must have gotten repainted. I’d totally sleep in there, sort of wish I had. I’ve camped in the occasional bathroom and that one would’ve been fine for a night. It was awful out, nearly rainy. I was down in the pile of clouds I watched blow in the night before. Pretty but not down amongst it.
This is the first bit of weather I’ve had on the whole trip. What am I going to do when real weather happens? On bike trips, I’ve been known to check into hotels if it rains.
I took a look around just to see what I’d missed in my night blind arrival. The faucet was in the Pony Park Day Use area above the fire station, under the huge high tension power tower. There’s a toilet, but not as clean as the one in the other Day Use area where I slept. I guess you can get pizza deliveries here but only if you have Verizon.
I saw a California quail acting funny on the trail ahead of me. I know they do that when they want to distract predators away from their chicks. I looked in some bushes and saw some tiny puffballs, about the size of upright mice, cheeping and scrambling into deeper cover. Baby quail!!!!
Even more exciting, after dark I was hiking with my headlamp. I saw some glowing red eyes up ahead, low down on the trail. It was a tiny owl! Gray and about the size of a can of soup. It was mesmerized by the light so I got really close to it. Finally it fluttered away in the night. I love owls and I’ve never seen one so small in the wild. It was a magical encounter.
The North Fork Ranger Station is under more high tension power lines. The buzzing is a little creepy. The station is closed down (budget cuts?) but there’s still water. Because Angels! I put on my rainfly again for the mist. I guess I’m getting used to this mist thing. I wasn’t nearly as creeped out as the night before.