Saturday, June 06, 2009

First creek before Rockhouse Basin

I woke up with the birds. It was overcast. I had slept well, warm and dry.

I packed up and went to the spring-fed branch of the creek, the one with the good flow. I stopped there for breakfast of Grapenuts and lemon pudding. I pretended not to see all the sediment in the water.

I began to climb out of Spanish Needle creek drainage. I climbed up into the fog. At first I could feel drops of condensation from the trees. Then I noticed that I felt more drops in the spaces between the trees. So I put up my umbrella. Then it started to rain much harder, but it was still gentle rain.

The bushes were getting my pant legs wet, so I took off the legs and put on my rain chaps. This ensured I would not get too hot wearing them. I also put on my minimal jacket that has only a light rain resistance. With the umbrella, it was enough. I stayed warm and comfortable.

I felt tired today. I was dragging up the inclines and the declines felt painful. There would be a big climb ahead after the creek at Canebrake Road. But I was falling asleep on my feet just trying to get to Canebrake Road. I couldn't think about that big climb yet.

I wanted to rest a while at the creek but the rain started again. The easiest way to stay dry was to keep moving. So I began the big climb.

Going up was very long, but the steepness was pretty static, so I put it in low gear and chugged away at the hours. I had to stop a few times to adjust clothing and eat. At one point I thought the Data Book said 5 more miles to the summit, but in reality I was almost there.

Then began the relentless 7 mile descent. My back and feet were killing me. I was having thoughts of going home. Maybe this was enough.

At long last I reached the bottom where there was a tiny creek and a large, burned tree. Last year there was a beehive in the tree. I didn't see any bees now. It was almost 5pm. I cooked dinner. I took my shoes off. I promised myself I did not have to go any further than this if I did not want to. It was already 26 miles from where I had slept last night.

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