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 have 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!