Pct day 54

July 15

710 – 721

I woke up to some yelling hikers. Not angry yelling, just suuuuper excited to be up in the mountains. 

I had left my bear canister a fair distance from my tent. But if a bear really showed up, it probably wouldn’t be near far enough. I’ve only seen wild bears when I was rolling by on my bike, never walking or camping. I bet they’re scarier when you’re on the ground.

As an experiment, I coldsoaked a Mystery Mix from the hiker box. It was something vegan, with more fiber than the bag of oranges my mom brought. 

Sometimes those mad flyer hummingbirds get awful close when they buzz by. I wonder if they ever accidentally stab stuff with those hypodermic beaks.

I was stumbling along at my snailish pace when I heard a noise from behind. Turned around to see the mule train! Three riders on horses and 6 or 7 mules. The mules were loaded with large metal boxes. I stepped well aside and watched them all go by. The riders were all ideal outdoor adventure characters. One guy even had a twirled mustache. 

It’s so difficult to pass up nice streams! I am trained to stop and set up camp at flowing water sources. Water abundance is outside my formula. When I got to the bridge over the south fork of the Kern River, I had my shoes and socks off right away. The bottom of the stream was sandy. I soaked my feet and then walked in the deep wet sand. It felt sublime to scour off the dead skin on my feet. I know I need those new calluses to toughen up my skin, but do I really need all of them? 

It would have been a great camp site, all that water and such a pretty meadow, except my lazy pace was not getting me anywhere. Also, there were bound to be other campers at such a prime location. I set off across the meadow. The first big climb was coming. It was time to get to it.

When the sun was setting I found a better spot for my tent, one nice and hidden from view. I left my bear canister on the other side of a small stream, beyond some dry bushes. Any bears, I reasoned, would be noisy coming through the bushes. Giving me plenty of time to do something. I’m not sure what, probably just be frozen or scold it like a naughty child.

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