Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pyrites Creek

Ryan parked the car at Grave's Creek right next to his vehicle's twin: a green Subaru Outback with Washington plates.  I put on my SmartWool socks, carefully laced up my hiking boots, and settled into my pack.  At this moment when embarking on a journey, I often feel a moment's hesitation:  Did I pack enough socks?  Will the kids be okay while I'm gone?  Did I stow my keys where I'll find them again but not lose them along the way?  This time, however, was different.  This time there was no hesitation.  I knew that I had everything I needed:  my boots, my brother, and the woods.  Nothing else mattered.

Our boots crunched on the gravel behind the row of cars, then stomped over a wooden footbridge into the woods.  Into the woods.

This was the first of many creek crossings.
The path was fairly wide for the first two miles.  Too narrow for two people to walk together, but wide enough to pass oncoming hikers without difficulty.  The first two miles see many day-hikers of folks who hike in to Pony Ridge.  Pony Ridge is a beautiful place where the river has cut through the rock and a large wooden bridge carries the trail over it.  We didn't linger with the day-hikers, though.  We plunged ahead, eager to keep pounding the trail.

Soon after Pony Ridge, the trail became more narrow and less traveled.  Ryan and I spread out a little bit, each lost in our own thoughts.  We were always in each others' sight, but sometimes you don't need to talk in order to enjoy the company of another human.  Especially on the trail.  The rhythm of my own footsteps on the remote soil sent me into a meditative state.  My mind quit chewing on the various problems that had inhabited it for weeks.  I released the problems into Mother Nature's capable hands.  I just walked.
My two feet, carrying me over.

This odd little ptarmigan was hiking alongside us at one point.  I could have picked it up!  
That's a big tree!
 We reached the first backcountry campsite 6 miles from the start.  Ryan and I were both feeling great, so we decided to go another 3 miles to the next campsite at Pyrite's Creek.  I didn't know for sure if I could make it, but I thought I could.  So I did.  When we got there, Ryan gave me a big hug and said that I killed it.  I know I did.  I knew I could.  We arrived at 6:07, and his projected arrival time was 6:30.  We beat his projection by 23 minutes!  I felt rather accomplished.

I also felt rather spent.  After all, I had just hiked 9 miles, mostly uphill, with a pack.  I sat on the sandy bank while he set up the tent and filtered some water.  Soon I was feeling refreshed and able to participate in camp life.  

Ryan filtering some water for us at Pyrites Creek

Our tent, Big Agnes, at Pyrites Creek
This is most of our food in the bear can, with a view of our campsite on the banks of Pyrites Creek.

Ryan made haystacks (deconstructed tacos) for dinner.  Best meal I've ever had! 

We took shots of Herdez salsa from a can to avoid spilling any on the ground and attracting vermin.  Pass the Herdez!

After dinner we were both ready for bed, so we turned into Big Agnes.  It was still light out.  I was asleep by 8:30.

Ryan's girlfriend, A, loaned me her FitBit for our hiking trip.  Afterwards she hooked me up with the data, which shows how intense this first day of hiking was.  I walked 24,935 steps that day.  And I loved every one of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment