Monday, June 4, 2018

(Backup) Day 5 - Devils Saddle Camp - mile 1663

What a day. I set foot on the trail at 6:20 am and not 5 minutes later I hit the burn area. It looks like I guessed correctly about where to stay last night since the burn area went on for a 7 long miles. Newly burned, as in last year. At times I seemed to be smelling the smoke from the fire. Very sad. I don’t know what the area looked like before but with all that I saw, there must have been a big fuel buildup in order to burn so hot. Still, flowers are blooming and I could see plants coming up from the roots of plants that had burned to the ground. Can’t keep a sturdy plant down for long. 

It is odd to experience disorientation when hiking along in a burn area. Three times today I got, not lost exactly, but I couldn’t find the trail in and among all the burned trees and downed wood. I never paid attention to how the trail looks when things are growing normally. Dirt path with green things along side. If there aren’t green or growing things on flat ground then the path isn’t readily visible. Not a big deal but disconcerting none the less. 

Early on I had a view into the far distance and I saw, what looked to be the trail above the road across the way. I wondered “Is the trail going over there? Still in a burn area?” Yup. That’s where I went and I’m telling you that open hillside devoid of any cover was a cooker. I broke out the umbrella to deal with the sun today. Still it didn’t last forever and finally, finally the trees returned. And I even passed pretty Lily Pad Lake. 
Unfortunately the nice green forest didn’t last for long and the trail continued on through an old burn area. Dead trees here and there surrounded by scrub brush and other low growing plants. At least they were green but as the day went on I started wondering just where I was gonna find two live trees to hang my hammock from for the night. I talked to a few people going the other way and they all said the burn goes on ‘forever.’  Probably not but that is how it feels to folks after so many miles. Any way I started getting tired and actually toppled over at one point. Well, I snagged my foot on a root and went down, landing on my pack. How lucky! No harm, no foul. But it was a warning to me that I shouldn’t push it much further and needed to find a home for the night pronto. 

Luckily I happened along to this area just off the side of the trail with the most perfect trees in the most perfect setting. I’m probably just happy to have a home for the night that feels safe and is 6.7 miles from town. I added a bit of domesticity to the scene and then had my new favorite dinner, “Cowgirl Pasta.” Yummm. Tomorrow it’s JJ’s for lunch in Seiad Valley!


  1. Cowgirl pasta!!! That's my friend Shelly Jo. I liked the little lake, how pretty. I was thinking this morning how wonderful it is that you are doing exactly what you love and in a little while i am going off to do what i love... and that even in doing this sometimes we fall down, but it is surrounded by this cushion of rightness. oh well, it was better explained in my head as most things are... have a beautiful day. love, love, JL

    1. You explained it exactly correctly. Sweet J. Love you.

  2. Enjoy a well deserved lunch at JJ’s maƱana. ❤️❤️