125. August 13: Mile 11.30 of Rim Trail Alternate Grouse Hill Campsite to Mile 11.72 of Rim Trail/PCT Mile 1836.70 to Mile 1863.44 Maidu Lake Junction
Perfect days don’t exist, but if they did, they would begin with listening to Space Jam at 6:00 in the morning. Today was just completely sublime. We hike 27.1 miles, a personal best for both Glowworm and I and the views and forest were so beautiful.
The terrain was near pancake flat today. There were a few climbs that looked menacing on the elevation profile, but in reality they were gentle grades that we barely even noticed. The trail itself was awesome too. It was a mixture of mostly firm sand and packed pine needles which made for fast and easy-on-the-feet hiking. On top of all of that, the skies were overcast all day and they air temperature cool allowing for us to just cruise without breaking a sweat.
We are certainly in Oregon now. The forests are thick with coniferous trees, specifically the Western Larch which is a cousin of the Tamarack tree. If you’re familiar with the Tamarack which is often seen in the northeastern part of North America, then you’ll know it as the only conifer to have its needles change colors from green to an orangey-yellow and then lose its needles in winter. In the spring, it will regrow its needles just like deciduous trees. Right now, the needles are just starting to turn color so you could see little patches of gold within the vast ocean of green. It was really cool.
There were also several spots where we had some sweet views of nearby volcanic mountain sides. You could see where the sedimentary rocks had been pushed upward by volcanic pressure resulting in these interesting curvy patterns. In some places you could see a straight line of rock from where lava forced itself through those wavy layers of sandstone. In addition, the thick clouds that blocked the sun all day, covered the peaks of these nearby mountains further adding to their luster.
As if an easy trail and cool views wasn’t enough, my mind had a fun exercise today to keep me entertained. If you don’t know me very well, then you probably don’t know my obsession with sports team and their logos and uniforms. When I was in middle school I had a Madden NFL video game on my Play Station. I would play games of football on it, of course, but what I really spent most of my time doing was using the Creat-A-Team feature where you could select a logo from a list of stock images, choose colors, location, nickname, and design the team’s uniforms through a uniform editor. It was the most fun I’ve ever had playing video games and I didn’t even play the actual game all that much.
So today I was thinking about how there’s this World Cycling League starting up where it basically pits track cycling teams of riders up against each other through a more stick and ball sport format. It’s kinda hard to explain if you’re not familiar with it so if you’re interested which I’m sure you’re not, then Google it. Anyway, I thought about all the cities in the US and Canada that have velodromes, made a list of them, and proceeded to match nicknames with each one. So far I got the Indianapolis Majors (Major Taylor, our velodromes namesake), the New York Madisons (Madison Square Garden is the namesake of the quintessential track even), Colorado Springs Olympians (COS is the home of the US Olympic Committee and one of the Olympic training centers), New England Harpooners (I’m really enjoying Moby Dick so I figured a team based at the New Hampshire Velodrome could use it), Atlanta Centennials (Atlanta was the home of the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic games in 1996), the Portland Cascades (Oregon is where the annual Cascades Classic is held…in the Cascades), the Seattle Schooners (Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders…I see a rather maritime theme here), the Boulder 14ers (49ers, 76ers, c’mon it’s Colorado), and the Philadelphia Continentals (Continental Army/American Revolution). So yeah, that basically filled up my mind like all day. For my cycling friends that read this (I think that’s just you, John Bott. Oh Scott Whitlock too.) if you have any suggestions then comment on this and it’ll give me more to chew on.
Perfect day, right? Yeah I thought it was too until about five minutes ago my inflatable sleeping pad started freaking the fuck out. The adhesive that keeps the internals together to create horizontal baffles (just Google NeoAir X Lite and you’ll see what I mean) started coming undone. This created a large bulge on the side of my pad. There’s nothing I can really do, but hope it doesn’t completely fall a part. We’re still just under a week until we get to Bend where there’s thankfully an REI, but if this thing kicks the bucket the. I’m fucked because it’s the only thing keeping me insulated (and comfortable) from the cold, hard ground. Ugh. No such thing as a perfect day.