Miles today: 19
Total miles: 612
We realized with chagrin this morning that we had miscalculated the mileage to the campsite where we were meeting Bryan and Katie, and we still had 15 miles to cover to get there. To try and make it by early afternoon, we got up again at 5:30 and hit the trail, but the terrain was not kind. It went up steeply several times in succession through the morning, but in between the climbs the trail went through wooded glens and beautiful vistas, so it was hard to complain. I found myself hiking alone for a bit when Focus, Sansei and Rotisserie pulled ahead, but I found I really enjoyed it. I sang songs to myself as loudly as I pleased and didn't have to worry about catching up with anyone or slowing anyone down.
We stopped for second breakfast around 8:00 and made good time to our next water source, arriving around 10:00 with ten miles already logged. We still had five to go, but it was already getting hot and we needed a break. We took a nap by the water source and shared the spring with some cows (Sansei does an impeccable cow impression and I think kept luring them in our direction) while swapping some more riddles between us. I was the one telling most of them, but they were getting pretty good at solving them now.
We kept hiking at noon, probably not the best idea since it was getting very hot, but we wanted to take our real afternoon siesta at the campground. The last five miles were brutally hot and seemed to drag on forever, but we finally made it at 3:00. Katie and Bryan were waiting at the campground with drinks and food and blankets on the ground for resting, and we took full advantage.
Sansei and Rotisserie
We lounged in the shade of the campsite for three hours, eating, napping, and hanging out. Focus and I taught Katie and Bryan how to play 500 and we got another competitive game going. By 6:00 we decided we needed to hike further in order to camp for the night, and Bryan had a long drive to get home to Portland. We bid him goodbye and hiked out, opting to take a shorter road detour rather than the trail, which also had steeper elevation gains.
To our surprise, we discovered several different kinds of animal prints as we walked along the road: deer, bear, and even mountain lion. After stopping for the hundredth time to look at some more tracks, Sansei cried, "ohmigod, what kind of animal made that?!" and with his trekking pole made a circle around the footprint of Focus's shoe.
We trooped onward in a single file line, and as we walked, Sansei started a new game for us to play: the first person in line thinks of a letter, the next person in line names a word that starts with that letter, and then the third person in line tells a personal story about that word. Then the game continues by the second person in line thinking of a letter, the third person thinking of a word, and the fourth person telling a story. We went around in a circle like this, telling funny anecdotes until we came across a beautiful tentsite on top of a ridge, overlooking a tree-filled valley below. We made camp - Sansei and Rotisserie were still sequestering spots to themselves, much to our amusement - and played a few rounds of 500 before turning in for bed.
Katie and I lay awake talking in our sleeping bags, counting the number of satellites we saw streaking across the sky and shrieking excitedly every time we saw a shooting star. It was a beautiful night.