721 – 734
Woke up with a stomach ache. Had breakfast with a tiny toad. It popped out of the ground to glare. I tried not to disturb its space. After awhile it settled back into its hole. I could still see its little eyes watching me. When I pumped water from a strangely orange stream, I found a single titanium chopstick on the ground.
I ate some alka seltzer but my tummy still felt like a hard ball. Finally I left. The hip belt made me feel better. Probably just those instant refried beans, definitely in the tasty but look out category of camp food.
The climb was killing me. The meadows and views were amazing. I stopped to moan and take pictures. Some freshly washed people with day packs passed me by. One of them told me the mule train was bringing up their gear and food. It sounded luxurious.
When the mule train came by, I was laying on a rock, letting my stomach stretch out. The first mule balked at the sight of my backpack. One of the handlers asked me to move to the same side of the trail as my pack. “Hey, you’re making good time,” said the female handler in the cool cowboy shirt. I was sure she was joking.
I climbed to over 10,000 feet. Would I get altitude sickness? I caught sight of something fast flying in the valley below. It was a jet. It flew so fast that it outran its jetblast. That explained all the times I’d heard jets and seen nothing in the sky.
This whole mountain meadow thing was so pretty. Too bad about all the mosquitoes.
I took a break next to a cute little stream called Death Canyon Creek. It seemed sort of mean that such a pleasant brook should have such a scary name.
I wondered what that stomach ache was all about? So many possible terrible reasons: giardia, parasite, cooties. Could it be altitude? Maybe if I could get online to check symptoms but no cell reception. I’d once again be sleeping above 10,000 feet. That would my life for awhile. I can’t remember if I’ve ever gotten altitude sick. Maybe not.
That was my first time night hiking in the mountains. It was cool. A little eerie. The rocks sort of bulged creepily in the dark. Lots of shadows that could maybe be bears. I kept urging myself to walk higher, just another ten minutes. I found a nice set of campspots with good sitting rocks and leaning trees. It was dark and peaceful and the air smelled nice.