It takes a long time to break camp and we are not back on the trail until almost 8 am. It’s a shady and cool morning filled with singing birds, buzzing insects and orange and white butterflies fluttering back and forth across the trail-looking for that perfect flower.
We find our first water source, a piped spring that lays hidden in the overgrown grass meadow. We gulp down the extra water we carried from yesterday and refill our bottles. We rest on an unpaved road we find above the trail. Taking off shoes and sweaty socks. Eating Slim Jims. D.Chaser wolfing down a dog energy bar in about 4 bites. Its hard to get her to relax. Her senses are overloaded. The wildernes is like canine crack.
We finish purifying the water, and head back out. The day heats up, the clogged trail becomes a little more oppressive, especially when heading uphill. Yet the shade makes it bearable. Then everything opens up to wide open meadows that are less claustrophobic, but more exposed to the glaring sun. There is always a trade off of elements and obstacles when hiking. There is always something to revel in, and something to push through. These moments all string together and somehow make life feel perfect.
On we go, our conversations both banal and domestic. Mooseburger fills his day with extensive plans for our future. That and constant contemplation about what kind of food is waiting for him at Hyatt Lake. Its these things that fuel him, push him that much faster up the hills; he is on a roll and connected to life’s potential.
I follow along behind, considering whether or not I want to do any more solo hiking this year. I’m having the fun and fulfillment I’ve been looking for since the beginning of these treks. Solo was a great adventure, I learned and grew from it. But this, this is fun! The highs are higher, the lows less low. My little family grounds me and keeps me steady.
Its evening when we get to the small pond we were aiming for. 12 miles. This is the most miles D.Chaser has ever walked. And she did wonderfully. There is no campsite, so we find a lumpy peice of land to claim as our own for the night. Everyone eats and we all snuggle down into our quilts. Aaron reads while D.Chaser whiles the last hours of daylight filling our tent with dog farts. Passing Homies, is what we call it. I drift off, different scenes of foliage and damp earth and crumbling trees playing through my head like a homemade slide show.