I heard Steady rustling when he awoke but it was freezing outside and I couldn’t stand the thought of getting up just yet. Hoping for the sun to hit me was stupid though, so after he left I jumped up and got out of there. Finally packed up and hit the trail in all my clothing layers.This journal is starting to sound like a record of pain but I can’t help writing about it since walking is all I do every day. By favoring my knee this past week I’ve developed something like shin splints. This is a three-inch circle just above my ankle that is red, puffy and painful as all get out. I’m in shock since I’ve never had things like this happen to me on a hike before. It’s not like I’m a beginner for crying out loud! This is my fourth thru-hike. Why am I in so much pain? I’m actually hobbling down the trail like an 80 year old, grimacing and sloppy with my footing since every step is agony. My legs are in excellent shape but the connective tissue is all messed up.At least the scenery is nice. Took the Clack Creek alternate to get up into the mountains and out of the valley. The hike along the Trilobite Range was beautiful and took us past an amphitheater of stone where shouted words echoed back. Wildflowers are blooming in the snow-free pockets of earth where tracks of deer, elk, bear, and what appeared to be mountain lion as well. Seeing a cat track that’s over four inches across makes you feel less like the top of the food chain and more like a mouse. Nice kitty!Limped to Dean Lake, which lies in the shadow of Pentagon Mountain, for a much-anticipated camp. Set up my tarp with a clear view of the east and hope to be warmed by the sun as soon as it crests the horizon. Elk, upset by our intrusion into their lofty alpine bedroom, are snorting their dissatisfaction. The pollen in my sinuses has me snorting back. Ah yes, life on the trail.
- Starting Location: Lots of tracks
- Destination: Dean Lake