The next day was overcast most of the day but I sweat like crazy as it became muggy. Mission Creek goes up, up forever or about 12 miles which seemed like forever. No big ups or downs. Someone has put trees across all the crossings to keep you out of the water , there are over 27, which slowed us down considerably. Only Ray got wet. Our first goal was the South and Fork confluence of Mission Creek which was the longest five miles I have ever hiked. Lots of through hikers passed us and then we passed them when they stopped for a hot lunch. Several of the women (thirty percent of all hikers) were wearing gossamer wraparounds which reminded me of Gauguin’s Samoan women. A little like Hippies. One of them was using couscous an ingredient I will add it to my trail meals in the future. One subject of constant conversation on these trips in what we will eat; especially for lunch. Bill wants to get away from the bagel to the pita for a variety of fillings. I like that. I have added pink salmon in packets for dinner and it is a great success. It was a long day and the only person handling it well was Bill. I got really tired but kept trudging on. Most of this trip is treeless. We saw 8 horny toads, a hundred coal black lizards and two racers, one trying to kill a lizard, and the lizard got away. We stopped short of Mission Creek camp for dinner. The theory being that we could avoid bears if we cooked in another area than we slept. It is only a theory weakened by the fact that at rest we were surrounded by cooking hikers. This area takes you far away from civilization. Perhaps as far as we have been since northern
We were in the seasonal “herd” of through hikers here. Usually we are practically alone on our trips. It was a pleasure to meet so many birds of a feather: young and old sharing the same dream. Reaching the tree line is always a pleasure. It is prettier and cooler. There are some big grades here before camp. Ray fell behind but not too far. We left messages that he never saw but he caught up to us in camp quickly. We gave up trying to put up our food in the trees and put it in our tents as bait. It is very hard to tie a stone to a rock and throw it accurately. My rear tent pole snapped in half which makes for an ugly tent. There were many hikers there but we just said hi and went to bed. It got down to about 40 degrees and my new sleeping bag kept me warm.
We went the wrong way out of Mission Creek Camp for about a ¼ a mile along with a lady. Finally we went up and over a hill north of camp and found my water cache from last October still in good shape. We were full up so I left them by the trail. We ran into snow on the north side of the mountain. Mainly drifts of 10 to 100 feet covering the trail. It was pretty soft but we stayed in the footsteps of those ahead of us. One of the disks on my poles vanished recently so it was funny to see that pole plunging all the down into the snow and the other a few inches. We took a break with a pair of hikers we camped with later. Nice people. The women had been saved, she said, by the man she was with when she got a case of hypothermia on