Look Kids, Big Bend

Up next – Parliament. If you have any on your playlist, turn it up. This blog probably reads better with some fat Bootsy Collins bass lines in the background.

How’s that for a mash-up of pop culture references?

Why Big Bend?  We’ve now entered the stretch of the PCT that bears thay name.  The trail has taken a turn to the west so we can get over to the Trinity Alps, turn north to the  Marble Mountains, enter Oregon and swing back east through the Siskiyou Mountains.

Home turf for us.

The smoke found us.  Whether it was from the Hayfork fire well south of us or the Stout fire up in Oregon, the smoke found us.  So I guess it’s a good thing that we spent most of the day in the trees. 

Otherwise it was views like this.

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Late in the afternoon, we were making good time even though my feet were barking at me.  Jen was in the lead, then stopped dead in her tracks as I heard a crashing that sounded like someone throwing a plastic garbage can down the street.

I caught a glimpse of a large black shape just off trail crashing through the undergrowth. In a flash the adolescent black bear was several feet up a tree, looking over its shoulder at us.

Immediately we were on high alert, not knowing if mama bear was nearby.  After a few moments it became obvious that she wasn’t, so we started calmly  talking to the bear.  It realized we weren’t a threat and backed down out of the tree.

We were hoping it would scamper downhill away from the trail, but no such luck.  We started banging our trekking poles together to make noise and keep it from the trail, but it wasn’t interested in that.  Instead, it found a log to lie on facing the trail and just kept and eye on us through the brush.

So we stood there for a minute talking to it while it stared back at us.  Still not convinced that momma was nowhere near, we headed up the trail.

It wasn’t until then that I thought that I should have taken a picture of it looking at us.

We can still see its beautiful big black eyes.

We made it to camp soon before sunset.  It was a forest service campsite, so it actually had a pit toilet.

Mind you, most of the time both of us would rather use the forest.  Humans are filthy animals.  But this one was clean.  Plus it had an entertaining feature.

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You haven’t lived until you’ve sat on a privy with bats flying around your head.  It was fun to watch in the fading light.

Unfortunately they were gone with the good morning light, so no pics of them either.

Day 116 –  23 / 1,468

Not much to this day.  Mile upon mile of forest.  Any chance of a view was blocked by smoke.

Instead, you get pics of us.

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The milky looking McCloud River.

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Day 117 – 24 / 1,491

The feet were still giving me issues, but new shoes were a short walk away.  We were going to pick up our shoes, resupply, take showers at the nearby campground, then keep moving up the trail.

We made it as far as the campground.

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Small town relic.

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Day 118 – 8 / 1,499

Please help us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource: http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j

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