August 9, 2017, Mile 1863: Companionship

At Maidu Lake, mile 1863

Rough night last night. My knee was hurting and spasming so badly I was almost in tears. And of course it kept me awake. But after I got up and walked around, it was fine. I have no explanation for this little miracle, but I’ll take it.

I was ready to hit the trail at 8:30. And here’s the honesty part. I wanted *so* badly to turn left, go north, go downhill, and head back to Windigo Pass. I almost had to grab myself by the shoulders, turn myself right, and push myself uphill. The more days I’m out here, the harder this gets. But after today, it will be easier to go southbound. And that knowledge really helped. I kept going. I kept walking.

Mid-morning, I reached Six Horse Spring. The steep side trail was everything it was advertised to be, and I was suddenly more grateful for schlepping that extra water. Many of the 20-something year old thrus were skipping the trail as well. I sat down, had a bite of lunch, and chatted with a NOBO.

As the day continued, I found I had signal! This might not seem to be a big deal, but Washington sections K and L (Stevens Pass to Canada) has zero signal. It’s far more remote, and rugged, than anything I’m seeing here. At any rate, I took time to call Steve, and to text with the boys. That was a wonderful thing.

The trail junction to Maidu Lake and Miller Lake is at mile 1863. Miller Lake is on a road, and features car camping and boating. I hung a right, and went down a mile to the more remote Maidu.

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Miller Lake

I had only a few ounces of water left, so I dropped my pack, got water, filtered, and slurped liquid goodness. Then I looked up to meet my fellow travelers.

Two thrus were just leaving, and headed to a campsite around the lake. Prodigal Wife and Bear Bells had the large campsite next to me. And while I was setting up camp, Orion showed up…with his two horses!

There are only a couple of equestrians on trail this year. Orion had two wild mustangs, purchased from a BLM auction. Minaret was his riding horse, and Gary was his packhorse. He trained them for six months after their purchase, and then took them on the trail. He is riding for the Ataxia Foundation; his father lost his life to ataxia, and Orion hopes to raise both awareness and funds.

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Orion and Minaret

Once his horses were hobbled and set loose in a large grassy patch near the lake, Orion joined us for a couple hours of just hanging out.

In the course of things, Prodigal Wife said that it was her birthday. I said, “Oh my gosh, wait here.” And just like what happened to me in 2015, I was able to pull out a dessert and share it all around, with a chorus of Happy Birthday!

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