Day 87 (Pete)

I rounded a rusted outcropping of boulders to the tune of Dyl la laing out Pomp and Circumstance. It was silly but I felt the moment nonetheless. My face cracked a grin and I must say I felt proud of myself. We sat down at the cold spring there and enjoyed breakfast. As things were winding up, Dyl saw a group coming up the trail. There were six of them, teenagers, hippies waiting to bud. In succession they all exchanged a cheery greeting with Dylan while trying hard not to stare at me standing ominously behind him in my flowing green polyester cap and gown. “I at least would have asked,” I mused after they had passed.

The terrain has become much more rugged. It is a welcome change. We feel like we are in mountains again. Initially, it seemed as if the day were going to be exceedingly hot. Especially for me in my non breathable garb. Luckily, however, a pleasant breeze through much of mid day continuously swirled up my gown and made things reasonable. We passed a three person trail crew fixing an overly muddy seep spring on the trail. Their leader, upon looking up, immediately congratulated me an inquired about where I was graduating from. He was a great guy and spent much of the five minutes with us laughing out loud.

We were ferociously attacked by two Chiwawa sized mystery ferret type creatures in the late afternoon. It was really very comical and I think in truth they were just playing. Regardless, one did charge me from behind a tree making an awful racket of panting growls. It repeatedly lunged forward with its paws outstretched. I must admit it had the element of surprise going for it. There was nary a quick second to wonder if it was going to try to gnaw my foot off. Fortunately, it ran right past me and continued chasing its twin which had flanked and attacked Dylan from behind a tree further up the trail. He said that he thought they were “Ermines” a cousin of the ferret.

As the sun dropped, we set up our bug shelter on the only available patch of flat ground. I removed my sweat soaked gown with a feeling of great satisfaction. Quickly, a large group of ten to thirteen year old kids with a leader came upon us. They were from Mosquito Lake summer camp. The guide described the camp as taking kids on “rigorous” hikes. That combined with the name of the location struck us both as a bit torturous for a child. Sure enough they had gone eighteen miles the day before. That’s pretty incredible for kids that old; and, despite our own attitudes, they seemed in high spirits. They asked us where we were coming from, always a joy to answer, “The Mexican Border.” After a quick talk about our trip they told us that we were, “Cool.”

I really enjoyed the ceremony today. It was a much farther walk that it would have been up to the platform. Siri informed me that the ceremony in San Diego, a little over a week previously, had gone backwards through the alphabet. So, I guess it was better to do it this way and walk all day than just sit there in a boredom induced coma waiting for my name to be called. For my high school graduation I unwillingly slugged a tequila shooter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon at the insistence of a crowd of hairy men. For college I walked twenty-three miles through the wilderness wearing my unused high school cap and gown. It’s shaping up to be an interesting life. While dinner cooked this evening I made an attempt to shave by a seep spring. There were only three razors in the package so it came out kind of scrappy. The kids guide commented to Dyl on his facial hair. “Were you clean shaven when you started?” I missed my recently removed Grizzly Adams beard. Nevertheless, I’ll look slick tomorrow.

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