Did I say the wind was dying down last night? It must have just paused for the short moment it took me to write that sentence. That wind was whipping through all night. I was warm enough and my tent was in kind of an alcove so I didn’t get hit with the wind full blast but the noise kept me awake most of the night. Between the wind roaring, the trees creaking, and the food bags on the bear cables rustling, I was only sleeping about 15 minutes of every hour. I was also imagining bears nearby, which is something I don’t normally do. I remember the first time I went backpacking with my dad and a friend, I had the best sleep of my life, but they came out of their tents in the morning exhausted, both claiming that bears were surrounding us all night, when in reality it was deer wandering by or even just leaves rustling. Now last night someone mentioned right before we all went to bed that she had seen a bear paw print on the trail to the spring so that must have put it in my head. I wasn’t exactly picturing a bear right outside my tent, but I was debating with myself whether or not bears are stealthy. They wouldn’t come slowly creeping up to your tent, right? They’re bears. They don’t need to stalk, they can just go for it!
Even though I was awake, I didn’t get out of my bag until after 9, hoping it would warm up slightly. It did not warm up all day. That wind just kept going. Once in a while, it would die down on one side of the mountain and you might think it was a good time to adjust layers, but no. As soon as you get around the corner, here comes that freezing wind again.
I climbed over two mountains again today, Ramrock Mountain and Big Cedar Mountain, and these ones even had overlooks. I didn’t get started hiking until almost 11 so it took me until almost 4 to get to Lance Creek, where at least 30 people are camping since it’s just before the bear canister area. Bears know not to cross that line, of course. Only 8.5 miles today so it was much easier than yesterday, although my legs felt surprisingly good this morning, just some tightness in my calves.
We had another fire here and while talking around it, a bunch of us decided to get cabins at Neel Gap tomorrow night. It’s potentially going to rain and snow tonight so it will be nice to be indoors tomorrow. A woman named Jan who maintains the trail and lives nearby stopped by and said if it’s bad weather overnight, we can all stop at her house for breakfast tomorrow morning. It’s just a little ways up the trail and she’ll mark the turnoff to her house if she’s doing it. That is very nice of her but I have to say I would prefer clear weather in a trade off. We’ll see what happens.
I met some new hikers today and am keeping up with some from the past few nights. It’s such a great community!