Day 163: What Are You Looking At, Cow?

Date: September 24, 2017
Miles: 1023.2 – 1044.2

“The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of nights.” ~ Giotto di Bondone

Last night’s temperatures tested the capabilities of my sleeping pad and quilt, and also my tolerance for discomfort. It must have been in the teens since I woke up every half an hour with some cold body part or another. When I finally dared to venture out of my quilt at 6:30, I found that a pair of my socks, my gaiters and my shoes had all been turned to blocks of ice.

One of my gaiters. Frozen solid.

It took quite a while to get feeling into my toes and fingers. Eventually we did find some sun, and spent our lunchtime drying out all of our gear. I was still feeling the crabbiness from the last few days so I also spent lunchtime complaining about how tired I was and how I just wanted to be home. Where my boyfriend is. Where I have coffee in bed and read the news. Where I don’t have to melt the ice off of my shoelaces in order to bend them. But JD and Fluffy cheered me up and reminded me that I signed up for this great adventure, and my only option is to finish it.  One of the great things about finding your people out here is that they help you when you’re feeling down, or when you want to throw your hands up and give the middle finger to this freakin’ trail.  Those moments are inevitable, and having encouraging friends to lean on can mean the difference between quitting or pushing through the tough, uncomfortable days.

Feeling better with some sun on my face.

The terrain I walked through today was more subdued than the high Sierra amazingness, but still beautiful in its own pastoral way.  Some of the land here is apparently used by ranchers, so the wildlife consisted mostly of cows.  And mountain lions, although we only saw their tracks in the snow.

This cow was freaking me out.

We had another cold night camping at Noble Lake, but the sky was clear and it was nice to have dinner by the lake under the stars.

Noble Lake.
The downside of melting snow…mud pits.