Beginning Elevation = 4,600
Ending Elevation = 5,300
Elevation Range = 4,450 – 6,150
Weather: Sunny, low 80’s
I was camping with all early risers. Snickers, More Food, and Monica typically all get up and are hiking by 5:30am. This morning though they “slept in” a bit and hit the trail right around 6:00am. I was on top of it and joined then as well.
Our morning walk was pretty nice. The smoke seemed to have dissipated, although I did still see some when looking out at one of the few outlooks. Some uphill some down, always through the forest. In general, I think the term mellow is a pretty good description for the terrain.
We stopped around 8:30am for a breakfast stop on this hillside above the trail. It had a nice view looking out at what I think was Howard Prairie Lake off in the distance. More Food and Monica were there already, so it was nice to see them again.
It’s hard to describe the forest we walked through today. It was a different kind of beautiful than we’ve experienced for most of the trail. Rather than open vistas looking out, we were covered by the tree canopy most of the time. Big tall pines loomed overhead with an occasional absolute giant appearing every once and a while. There were ferns. There were moss covered boulders. There were pine needles spread over the soft fine dirt. But the most striking feature that started to become evident, was this light green moss/lichen that seemed to hang off the trees bark and branches! Similar to the Spanish moss I’ve seen in the southeastern states before.
Snickers and I talked quite a bit during the earlier half of the day with topics varying widely. We reached our water source, a piped spring, and lunch spot around 1:00pm. A few other hikers came and went while we were hanging including a guy named Scott from Wisconsin who started hiking after Dunsmuir.
Post lunch, Snickers and I both seemed to be feeling the burn and were kind of in a “just trudge onward” mode. It was kind of odd, we hadn’t gone super far and the terrain was pretty mild. I guess just one of those days where we weren’t having the energy. Anyway, we made it to the South Brown Mountain Shelter, a small cabin with a wood stove in it’s center and some raised benches for folks to sleep on.
A few other hikers had arrived to the shelter before us and several others joined throughout the evening. I’d guess there were around 12-15 hikers camped, some nobo (north bound) some sobo (south bound – although no true sobo’ers that started from Canada, just folks who’d flipped up). It was a nice change getting to hang with others. Snickers said it reminded him a lot of the Appalachian Trail, which has more shelters which act as a gathering point for hikers.
There was a picnic table and we filled it chatting about things hikers chat about like food, blisters, trail names, trail conditions, and whatever random topics the conversation wafted into. The only hikers I knew already were Gaper from Minnesota and Scott from Wisconsin. I met Daniel and John, brothers from Washington, and Olya (not sure spelling, but the “O” was pronounced, not an “A”) who together had grouped up and were hiking south with another guy. A guy named Dylan seemed to have joined forces going north with Scott, both section hikers I believe, and a younger guy named Swiftfoot. Others I didn’t get there names or talk too much.
I had no desire to sleep in the cabin, it seemed a bit dusty and dirt filled. Now that I’m writing that it seems odd since my other option was setting my tent up outside in the dirt and dust. But whatevs, I suppose I’m used to the tent life at this point more than anything else. I haven’t described yet though my feelings on being in a new tent! It’s a wild experience going from sleeping in the same contraption for nearly a hundred days and then switching it up. On the other hand, my dad’s tents is essentially the same model, just different colors and the rain fly zipper location is different. Other than that, the same. And thus, I’ve been able to sleep as per my usual, just dandy!