1543 The Trinity Alps, With Gusto

I’m writing this from my perch on a craggy point high up in the Trinity Alps. Layer upon layer of ridges, gently ragged like torn construction paper, fade off in the distance until they are too delicate for my camera to understand.

I walked all day with Silver and Saver, content to follow in footsteps and take a wee break from all the navigating and water report checking. At 9:58 am, Silver announces that we have gone 9.9 miles. Saver and I, without comment, both immediately break into a run. We are so close to 10×10, making 10 miles before 10am, always an excellent start to the day. We make it with a minute to spare and unanimously decide on a long celebratory snack break.

IMG_6780Today is pleasant enough, but the trail continues its morale challenging southward trend. Shasta is most definitely north of us again, if distinctly more east too.

All day water is plentiful until it isn’t, catching us off guard with empty bottles. Silver and I take a detour to a spring by a trailhead, promising to bring Saver a cold Coke. But the spring is a seep, barely drip… drip… dripping out of a smushy slope. Despite the presence of a dozen dusty cars, there are no signs of humans, so we trudge back up the hill defeated with nothing to display except the meager inch of drip water in my bottle.

IMG_6772Less than three miles before camp, we stop at a stream. Saver and I jump in for a late afternoon splashy bath. We fill our water, mindful of running out, and trudge upward, hunched under our liquid burdens.

Just when the combination of uphill and heavy appears unbearable, a breeze comes our way. “It’s Gusto!” announces Saver. “We named the wind,” she explains. Buoyed by the breeze, we continue to climb until we reach lingering snow patches and their respective cool streams that render the long water haul totally unnecessary. So it goes.

IMG_6787We are camped on a breezy point near the top of the hills. I cede the two tent sites to the others, offering to take a second stab at cowboy camping with hopes that Gusto does a more consistent job of insect control, and that there are no mousy incidents in the night.

IMG_6794Around 9pm, a lone hiker passes silent in the night, headlamp bobbing along into the darkness, and I think about how wonderful it is to be resting here cozy under the stars with friends nearby.

June 27, 2016
Miles: 23
Total: 150
PCT: 1566

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