August 8, 2017, Mile 1871: Double Magic

At a campsite, mile 1871

I’m a couple of miles shy of Six Horse Spring, which was my goal for tonight. Tomorrow, I’m aiming for Maidu Lake, the next realistic source of water. I’ve got three liters, so while it’s a stretch, it should be fine.

I really dragged this morning, but I did get to say happy trails to Optimistic Turtle, before she headed north. There were just shy of five miles left on the OST, plus another half mile uphill on a forest road, to Windigo Pass 1876. And not only did I find a decent water cache, I found Magic!

Trail magic is basically surprising long distance hikers with good things. It could be soda, beer, cookies, fruit, even a pop-up barbecue. It could be a ride into or out of town, or a place to stay. Magic is proffered by Trail Angels, that rare breed of individual who takes joy in helping tired, grubby hikers. Magic can happen spur of the moment, or full-time by a handful of uber-Angels, who share their homes in trail towns.

This day, a couple of thrus, off the trail temporarily due to injury, brought a large cooler full of cold drinks and treats. Naturally, a vortex occurred…when a group of hikers find magic, they gather round to swap tales and hang out. I ended up spending 90 minutes there, instead of a grab-and-go at the cache. Lots of fun!

The cache was critical, because without it I would have had to a) go fifteen miles between water sources, or b) fetch water up a risky side trail. Neither of these were good options for me, at least this year. As it stood, I still had to schlep five liters uphill, to last an afternoon, overnight, and eight more miles. I really don’t like my need for extra water.

Those five liters played havoc with my outlook. Two or three times I came close to just turning around and hitching a ride from Windigo down to Diamond Lake, my next resupply. Uphills are far more difficult than I’m used to. But I met a handful of hikers along the way, who, when I was honest about “how are you doing?”, gave me good encouragement. People like this probably never realize how they help others, but for me at least, it was a Godsend.

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I reached my campsite, which wasn’t as far as I would have liked, but which had a wonderful retired couple one site over. We had a good chat, in which I came clean about my CFS diagnosis. And the woman said that she had had multiple surgeries, which slowed her down. She gets it.

Anyway, I said that my slow pace was playing havoc with my food rations. And all of a suddent, they were plying me with goodies. I totally wasn’t trying to yogi, but they had extra. Magic, part two!

I set up camp, and had a dry dinner (where you don’t add any water). Shortly thereafter, we heard thunder, so I found a sheltered place to secure my Ursack (food storage bag), staked out my guylines, and climbed into my tent.

Today’s story was discouragement, and I kept playing the “what was I doing this time last year” game. But that’s not helping anything. I think I’ll keep playing my music, to keep me out of my head. Three more days until Diamond Lake.

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