We reach the Cascades and Mitten takes a break in the middle of Bald River which makes for a great shot.
JOURNAL TRIP 53
MORNING ALONG BALD RIVER: An early morning pee call gets me up in cold temps as I leave the warmth of an unzipped bag and firm pad to stretch before the pines and hear the singing creek on this predawn day in the wilderness. Little Mitten sleeps to my back and I haven't heard a peep from her yet as an incense stick will waft her way and say hello.
It is a star studded black sky which portends clear skies later(we hope)and dry conditions to Horse Camp and points north by northwest. I look to light to bring out the stove, check the pump plunger and fire up hot water for oats and tea, nettle this time. Mitten will enjoy the hike today as we pass the cascades and she'll get excited to pass Holly Flats and Sky Ranch Camp, she'll like the crossing of little Henderson Branch and the slow grdual climb to the big crossing of Bald River before reaching open Horse Camp where she'll find a home for her tired feet and inflamed spirit. Past this point we'll dayhike to Old Dog Falls and contemplate the next day's hump or lack thereof.
Nature's gift is everything, the bow wrapped around it is a reflected mirrowed image of our own motives, do we use Nature to puff ourselves up? To think, "I'm one hotshot Jebedial Smith type character, a genuine mountain man." Or do we meld with the air and twirl like a butterfly, saying, "Let me twirl and dance in this soft gentle world with hippie nonchalance where nothing is serious." Or do we use Nature to impress the girls or the boys and say, "Look at me, my coolness is evident as I manipulate the gear and fashion the pack, lay with me yonder gendered dayhikers and backpackers, touch my expertise." Or we might say, "What turn of cash can nature provide?(the old logger's rush)or "I'll run a guide service and thereby make a living"(the new Mt Everest/NOLS rush).
Why do we live out, why do we hike the long trails? Here are some positive reasons:
*** The quest for freedom and spontaneity
*** The quest for adventure
*** The quest for physical exercise and strength and thereby better health
*** The quest for Beauty, a thirst stronger than hunger
*** The quest for shared community of like minded souls
*** The quest into Self as described previously and thereby an understanding of tribal 'earth based' philosophies and their visions.
The joy of being out includes all of these things and more, it would be a worthy and interesting pursuit to ask each person encountered on the trail this question: Why do you live out? Some would surely answer, "It's an escape from a job or a marriage or worse," but the rest after calm reflection would offer captivating reasons so far uncovered. Some possible replies could be:
*** I love the challenge
*** My best friend walked it last year and so here I am
*** I retired and allways wanted to do it.
Beneath these reasons though must come more honest replies buried deeper than the obvious and so the form of the question is important: "Now that you're out, what is your view or relationship with Nature?" Answers could range from, "What do you mean by Nature?" to "I don't have one" to "Nature is God." My parents, for instance, saw Nature as the Enemy, a mean force "out there" meant to harm or at best a place of disregard and indifference, the backdrop to business as usual and something to deal with.
My buddy Johnny B sees Nature as the Great Refuge, the Breast of Our Holy Mother and the Simple Pristine One. Like me he's had a long, sometimes torturous relationship with the Pristine One, often times seeing relief from his own mortality in it's opened armed escape and many times just to be with another person or to love a woman he has too quickly turned his back on the Beautiful her and so indirectly dooming each and every affair.
In this broken hooped all-or-nothing world people like Johnny B(and I)bounce from Nature to humanity and back and then forth and in time we are left with a crazy nervous tick of on-again/off-again trickiness, a modern day coyote entirely created by human choice and the unnatural lure of technology, science and the worship of death.
Just recently have humans left Nature but for many thousands of years we loved and had families and sat together in council on the stage of natural life in Nature. Such harmony with the world has now passed. I asked Little Mitten her view of Nature and she said, "It is my attempts to live in harmony with it that forms my relationship to it." END
I hear a very strange sound in the night, a turkey? A wild bird? An owl? Ok, the pre-sun light of 8 am comes to Big Pine Camp and I layer up to prepare to get up and survey Little Mitten's tentsite and rouse her from a warm cozy nesting pouch.
Ok, I went and got Mitten up but she's back down again so I went to feed Shunka 2 paks of food as I contemplate breakfast in bed.
ON THE BALD RIVER TRAIL: We left camp at noon(a late start)as we continue upriver on the Bald River trail. We are resting now and Mitten is down by the creek yelling at me to bring the camera, We left the reststop and now sit at the Cascades with the white water roaring and Mitten down below playing on the rocks. I hope the photos come out as I took a good one of her by the water. It is cold and breezy here and we'll soon hit the trail and the Holly Flats campground.
OVERNIGHT AT HORSE CAMP: We crossed Bald River once in our Crocs and we now sit at Horse Camp with the tents up preparing for a fire and supper. All is peaceful here and parklike, a splendid place to spend a couple of nights.
Night falls around the big fire Mitten inspired and we built together, it's a beautiful thing and the 7 pieces of split oak left by the previous guys really helps. My North Face goretex pants had a bad butt blowout and so I sat up by the fire with needle and thread to repair the busted seam. Mitten sits across from the fire reading her book by flashlight.
It is later and we left the firepit to go to our separate tents and Mitten sits in the Mt Hardwear using her little Dorcy light to read while I have a candle lit on a heavy flat river rock. We are tired and about ready to sack out. Goodnight.
bald rivercascadeslittle mitten