Day 127

Day 127 – mile 2527 to 2549 – Just Miserable Camp to Dry Ground! Camp:
I somehow managed to stay warmish last night even though none of my stuff dried out.  I was comfortable enough, until it was time to get moving again.  Then, it was incredibly difficult to coax myself out of my cocoon and back into my wet rain gear, nearly frozen in the night.  Disappointingly, conditions appeared to not have changed much overnight.  Still cloudy, still rainy, still miserable.  Wet socks on, followed by wet shoes, pack up all the damp gear, pack up the soaked tarp, get moving before hypothermia sets in.
The problem with finishing yesterday with a climb was that I had to start today with a descent.  It’s kinda hard to warm up when gravity is doing most of the work.  Low bushes dumped icy water into my shoes as I swam down the trail, pumping my arms furiously to get the blood circulating to my wayward digits.  Half jogging down the trail, I eventually got into the trees, out of the soaking meadow and wind, vastly improving my chances of staying alive.
The drop down the steep slope was monotonous and frustrating with many fallen trees to climb over and crawl under.  With my umbrella unfurled and working well, I hopped over one log, then ten yards further, wham!  Head meets tree trunk.  The uphill portion of a fallen tree that had been cut to open the trail had slid so that it was now overhanging the trail.  With my peripheral vision blocked, I slammed into it at full steam.  Staggering backwards in stunned confusion, I slipped off the trail, flopping a body’s length down the muddy slope before I checked my slide.  There was no real danger, but I clambered back up with care as the mud was very unstable.  My left thumb and ego seemed to be the only casualties.  Feeling a wee bit discombobulated, but otherwise lucid, I trudged onward, testing my thumb for signs of being broken.  Grip strength is fine, but motion is slightly impaired by minor swelling.  Probably just a sprain.  I can deal with that.
What concerns me more is the ankle/shin discomfort that inexplicably developed later, on flat and level trail.  I’ll have to see how that develops, but for the rest of the day I walked with a protective limp, wondering if I can hobble 120 miles like that.  This was a low point for me emotionally.  The rain, the cold, the head-butt, the limp.  I started laughing at how terrible things were, but had to stop almost immediately to keep from crying.  It’s a fine line between dark humor and devastation.
The flat trail brought me through a grove of gigantic trees, then across the rushing Suiattle River.  Easy climbing from there had me back in the clouds and just south of Suiattle Pass where I had planned on making camp in an old miner’s cabin.  The cabin was not fit for occupation, being completely collapsed, but I still found something precious, dry ground.  A tent-sized spot under a tree was completely dry.  How?  Unbelievable, but awesome.  I set up my tarp right there without hesitation and settled in for the night.  Another day in the rain.  A fight with a log.  A mysterious injury to observe.  Ibuprofen and compression, then sleep.


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