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Day 95 – Wildfire

Today I called in a wildfire. My circadian rhythm has changed as I have traveled East, from central Washington to near Montana. Days have shifted nearly an hour, beginning around 5am and ending around 830. As I cross a time zone in the next couple days this will shift again, but I have recently been on the trail by 5, and been tucked in for bed by 8. I left Upper Priest Lake even earlier and knew I had a big day ahead. First was a climb and descent from lookout mountain, followed by some roads before a 5 mile bushwhack began. I felt amazing and was absolutely breezing over the trail until it ended at this point. There were commonly faint game trails to follow for a hundred yards, at a time but it was often fighting through thick branches and brush taller than me. I followed Lionhead Creek for a few miles before gaining real elevation and following a tributary straight up. At one point I looked down and my legs were covered in blood from all the scrapes and there was a hole in my shirt. I turned again and gained the ridge. By the time I got there I was covered in sweat. It looked as if I had just jumped in a lake with my clothes on. But when I sat down and looked West it was all forgotten. Coming off Lionhead Ridge were plumes of smoke. This was just across the valley from where I was and looked fresh as there was no other smoke in the air. I dialed 911 and reported the fire, then received multiple calls from other organizations to provide further details. Then it was time to go. My path led away from the fire and I was motivated to put distance between it. By Ball Lakes and Pyramid Pass and along the ridges I went. My mind was elsewhere, so I neglected to inventory my water and walked the last 15 miles of the day on half a liter (a little more than a pint). I finally found a small, nasty spring and filtered just enough for dinner and hiked a bit further before choosing an awful camp spot on the side of a hill. I met three other thru hikers heading the opposite way on the trail today and one of them had a dog. It was an eventful and exhausting day.

Miles 39

Total miles 3074

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