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Backpacking in PNF, Day 2


View Teenie Travels Around the World on chschen's travel map.

Distant sound of thunder to the west. We've left the rainfly partially off the tent to let in fresh air and to watch the clouds in their slow promenade across the sky. I can hear two children playing on the trail near us, but I can't see them through the brush. Sound of a small ax or somesuch. Their father scolds them for being too noisy. One frustrated bee circles our tent in vain.

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Tonight is a world of difference from last night when we lay steaming on top of our sleeping bags, praying for rain so we could give our sweat-salty bodies a brief rubdown, anything to take away the stickiness of two days and eight hard-hiking miles without a shower. But nothing came then of the rumble we heard, and nothing came later either, despite my night-time vigilance. We only heard the hysterical cry of a coyote and a strange bird Chris confused for a laser. Perhaps an owl, too.

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But this evening we had water and so set up our portable shower in a rhododendron thicket. We hollered as usual at the cold shock, but nothing compares to the sublime feeling of being newly clean, with the air growing cool all around you, and then knowing, once inside, the humming flies can't pester you and you're as snug as you'd be in a skyscraper--no, snugger.

And so I watch the sky darken. I listen to the birds chirping, the children shouting, Chris's even breathing beside me in his nest of royal blue. He jerks wake, scratches his cheek, slides deeper into this sack. All is well. Tomorrow we fly back to California.

* * * * *

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We encountered a Boy Scout troop looking out at the same view. Their happiness and gratefulness at being there were infectious.

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Descending a ridge

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Clean!

* * * * *

Last night a caterpillar began his cocoon on our tent pole. When we packed up at noon he was attached at one end by a fine cotton-like mesh that was surprisingly strong. We broke him off onto a leaf, but he fell to the ground, still frozen in the "O" in which we had found him. I think we were the end of that caterpillar.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in USA

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