We returned to the Alderbrook with our mail. I grocery stopped. I packed up my stuff and waited for the library to open so I could use the Internet (which is how I got the previous installments of this journal updated.) While waiting I decided to have an ice cream sundae at the famous soda fountain. Finally when the library opened I used up my hour and then poof, I was all logged out.
On my way back to the Alderbrook, I bought a giant leaf of chard from a lady selling veggies. I figured it might pack well. When I got back to the Alderbrook, I tore up the leaf and put it in a baggie with a little sprinkle of water. Then I realized my journal was missing so I started running down to see if I had left it at the library. They had not seen it and I looked around and did not find it. I had a feeling that if I returned to the Alderbrook again they would be wanting to drive us up to the trailhead so I went to the grocery store and bought a new notebook and pencil. When I returned, indeed they were heading out to the trailhead without me. They turned around and picked me up.
I set off to tackle Section Q at 3:30pm. The climb from the road was much easier than I had feared. The trail was smooth and easy following ridges and traversing saddle to saddle.
I never saw any of the small creeks listed in the guide book so it had been hard to see where I was. I finally saw a sign to Bear Cub Spring, which the book did not mention. Since the trail seemed dry, I thought I should go to the off-trail spring. Someone had written on the sign that there was a campsite, too.
I walked by the campsite. It was way too windy to stay there. I found the spring. In a few days the spring will be bursting with lillies. I filled up my water and found a good spot to cook dinner. I was going to try the cook-and-carry again. I made orzo with salami chunks, alfredo sauce packet and swiss chard. I stuffed the hot pot, tucked inside its cozy and wrapped in a ziplock, upright in my pack and went in search of a sheltered, warm spot to camp. I was actually getting chilled in the cold wind. It was 6:30.
I finally found a campsite near a creek. I stopped and started to select a spot to set up. I was mobbed by mosquitoes. There was a meadow right there through the trees and the air prickled and stung with the blood suckers. I decided cold wind would be better so I continued further. I found a saddle just past Shelley Lake trail. It was sheltered with only enough wind to blow the mosquitoes away. I made camp and ate my now perfectly-cooked dinner inside my tent. It was 8:30. Two hours in my pack and it was still warm.
I realized as I hiked today that I was hitting my stride. I felt strong and fit. I wished I always felt this way, even at home. Too bad it took 35 mile hikes followed by 25 mile nero days (nearly zero) to feel this good. Only 13 miles today, though.