When I awake to the alarm at 5 am I can hear the wind swirling around overhead, stirring above the trees. I envision the clouds swirling and twisting like liquid in a caldron. I remember watching the clouds last night move quickly across the sky. Before falling asleep I slipped in some earplugs to help clear my head. Fortunately our tent sits sheltered beside some boulders, avoiding most of the wind.
I ask Lupine how she’s doing as her eyes barely open. “I’m tired” she says as her eyes then seal back shut. I’ll lay here a little longer and then get moving I decide. Lupine wakes up at 6, and writes a quick and simple account of the day.
Woke up at creek. Slept in till 6.
Breakfast and coffee at our campsite. We are tired this morning and need come caffeine to get moving.
Morning climb over ancient volcanic rock pile. Reminds me of Riverside State Park in Spokane.
We saw Clydesdale, recently back from his niece’s party in Truckee. He is soaking his giant feet in a creek. I understand how he got his trail name. He’d never really hiked before, and now he hikes 20+ miles a day. “Before the PCT, if someone asked me if I wanted to go on an 11 mile hike, I’d probably decline”, he says. We laugh.
There are green meadows full of wildflowers , I’m so happy to see them! Every color and shape you can think of. We crushed lemon balm leaf in between our fingers. Aromatherapy as we walk.
Crossed lots of patchy, melting snow.
Lunch by a creek, beans, tuna and tortillas. Iced my feet, coldest stream I’ve felt in a long time.
On our climb to noble lake saddle, met Shroomer. He’s a jovial, exuberant older man. He greets us with a laugh and a smile. I’m initially suspicious of this man. He’s really excited. But then I learn he is a thru-hiker to the bone, having done dozens of long trails all over the world. He’s high on hiking, and I decide that I love it. As we climbed to the Noble Lake overlook, we had a wonderful conversation about thru hiking. I peppered him with questions about his hikes and travels. He obliged me with enthusiastic descriptions of the Israel trail, Te Aurora in New Zealand, The Great Divide Trail of Canada, and the CDT, PCT and AT here in the USA. In fact, every year it’s his job to pass out the triple crown awards. Triple Crown is where a hiker hikes all three long trails in the USA. He is friends with many of the most famous thru hikers, and I tell him Heather “Anish” Anderson is one of my personal heroes. He knows her well.
At the saddle met Siren and Book-It. We chatted about shoes, as Siren and I have the same kind. They are so friendly, and I enjoy their company.
Decent from the saddle into Noble canyon was very cool. Mountains were dark, heavily featured with age. Different from everything wed seen so far. Sturdy junipers decorated the slopes. Sound of water everywhere. More wildflowers.
Shroomer was down there, waiting for another hiker. We talk again about the incredible places we get to walk through, and how some people are just…driven to walk the earth. We agree that this is our calling, too. “Welcome to the club” he told us, then gave us each a hug. My heart melted. I feel so grateful. So, so grateful.
Campsite was the best on trail so far. It offered unobstructed views of the valley below. It is a warm night and we sweat through dinner. We drank cider we found in the hiker box at KM, it was delicious. Of course, there were plenty more ant-ics. The busy little creatures inspecting our cookware, shoes, and pretty much anything foreign around them.