For the first time it rained all day and the sun never came out.
We definitely don’t have mesas at home. There is something so interesting about something that has sides like a mountain, but a top that is flat for miles. The climb up to the mesa was foggy and rocky.
It was also the sight of an interesting human encounter. The second biggest issue besides who steps off when crossing paths, is music. Okay, lets make it third after right of way and bears. We ran across two young girls who had a speaker playing music. An older man also hiked up to where we were chatting. He went on to (very politely) share with them that their music woke him up as they hiked past his tent. As he left, they embarrassedly mumbled that they never even saw him. We all awkwardly hiked off.
But I thought about it for at least a mile. (Did I mention it’s long and flat on top of the mesa??) I see both sides. The 40 year old side of me firmly believes that Leave No Trace includes noise pollution – and taste in music is such a person things. (John and I stick to podcasts, audiobooks, or my play list in the car – I do not love his music choices. Sorry.) That side of me believes that the music people play out loud on the trails is wrong. However, as a teacher I understand that music is a constant soundtrack to young people’s lives. They listen to music all the time. They listen to an earbud during class if they can get away with it. For them it is second nature to have tunes blasting. They are doing a service to their friends by providing it. I’m also guilty of doing the same. I *may* have played fun 80’s music to help motivate my 5 year old niece down the trail.
I can definitely tell this is a no bike section. While I don’t love having to leap to safety at the first whiz of a tire, the trail tends to be more maintained. This has been the narrowest section of trail. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope, placing one foot in front of the other. The trail has often eroded down six inches or more, turning it into a tightrope in a trench. It is also the steepest section of trail for us so far. It feels like hiking on the Appalachian Trail, where it just goes straight up the side, no switch backs, no grade. You hit a saddle and go straight back down. And today we did it in the never ending rain.
Land of Dead Trees
Sadly, we are still in the land of dead pine trees. Almost all of the mature trees here are dead. They are all evergreens and all dead. But also all still standing. There are living babies growing underneath, but the huge swaths of standing dead ones hide them from view. It also makes it hard to find a safe campsite with towering beetle kill dead trees all around.
And Still It Rained
The cold wet during the day paused long enough for us to set up our tent and make dinner, but that was it. We lay there until long after 8 pm (hiker bedtime!) listening to the echo of the drops on the Dyneema. We did stay dry in our tent and warm (thank you HotHands) but its a long time to lay in a tent. I probably would have just slept with my food (it is in an odor proof bag) but John was more patient and stayed awake until the rain stopped.
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