August 31, 2016, Mile 2631: Angst

At a campsite, mile 2631

This morning, I hiked out of the Guard Station, climbing the ridge to Slate Peak. This is the actual trailhead, and sports an old radio tower as well as the trail register.

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Looking back towards Harts Pass

From there, I entered the Pasayten Wilderness: the last National Forest boundary before the border.

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Less than a mile later, I ran into two women leaving their campsite. I let them go first, but suddenly asked, “Jessi?” It was my friend! She had joined hiking forces with another woman (Denise), and we had a great reunion. Turns out Jessi has a faster pace, but prefers less miles in a day, which is how I caught up with her. We chatted for awhile, and then the two of them headed up the trail.

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Jessi had mentioned that she and Denise were hiking with an informal group. I met up with them further down the trail, at a lunch and water stop. There was also a group of day hikers, so it was quite the scene. I’m used to hiking solo, or perhaps hanging out briefly at a campsite with other hikers. This was a bit overwhelming.

My leg was giving me more grief, so my pace was slower. I focused on going forward, rather than stopping to look around. The clouds were thickening, so apparently I didn’t miss much. Keep walking.

I eventually caught up with the backpacking group at Shaw Creek 2630.  They had decided to go to a large campsite just a mile up the trail, and I decided that that would work for me too. I got there late afternoon, and set up camp quickly against the coming rain.

I also messaged Steve a few times. I had planned on finishing on Friday 9/2, but I didn’t know what my pace would look like. So on the surface of things, it looked like it would be best if I stuck with the group and did things at their pace and with their priorities, to make sure that I actually made it. Their next day’s goal was 2643, which was quite a bit shy of what I wanted to do. They were going to take three days instead of two, and they were functioning differently than I did as a solo. Not bad, just different. And I wasn’t sure what to do.

 

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