Day 18. Last Day on Trail.

7/17/16

Miles 14.0

Total: 302.4

The wind died down in the night so we knew the morning as going to be a mosquito hell. We all take our morning poops and tell our horror stories of how we all had dozens of mosquitoes on our ass cheeks. They suck all the joy out of life. I think we need to make it our goal to annihilate all mosquitos from the face of the earth at any cost. I think this and they aren’t even giving me a debilitating or lethal disease like they do elsewhere in the world. Mosquitos = humanity’s number one enemy. 
The morning sun lights the lake and mountainside. We walk out for our lazy hike to highway 114 where we will camp. It’s only 14 miles and we have all day. The mosquitoes seem to intensify during the first mile of our hike until we make it to an open meadow where the wind sends them far away. Hopefully straight to hell. 

The morning light on the hillside

We leapfrogged this guy and his puppy all morning. It’s nice to see backpacking puppies! Always brings a smile to your face.

The day consisted mostly of medium sized ups and downs, rather steep at times but over quickly. Lots of pretty wildflowers were blooming on the hillsides. As we climbed the last steep hill of the day we charged up it, huffing and puffing. Sara went to the side of the trail and started hyperventilating and gasping and it was very startling. Turns out she has asthma and had an attack. We grabbed her inhaler and Leah breathed with her to calm her down. After a few minutes she was all better. We took a nice long lunch break to recover. 

Rapunzle’s bone collection is growing!

Fireweed!

Some kind of gentian?

Cool blue larkspur

The last few miles of the section was on a dirt road which made for easy group walking. To make things even sweeter, wild strawberries were fruiting all along the roadside. We took a couple stops to collect the delicious little morsels. We crossed the 300 mile mark today as well. It was marked by “300” written out by pine cones in the trail. We decided to one up this by writing out 300 with our bodies. 

300 miles!

We had to reenact it

Lots of little strawberry patches along the roads! Super sweet little treats.

Right before the dirt road meets the highway we run into a group of people who we had crisscrossed with during the day. Their parents were there with a car and setting up a car camp. They offered us some twinkies and little Debbie fruit pies which we very happily accepted. I was completely out of food and hungry so these really hit the spot. 

When we hit the highway it’s a .4 mile walk to the trailhead which is a large parking lot. Storm clouds rolled in and we raced to set up our tents before the wind and the rain. I found a little underpass where water flows under the highway. I ran to it and hid in there during the brief storm. I wasn’t alone though, dozens of swallows had built their nests in there and were flying out and around me while I took shelter. It was a bit smelly. The rain let up a bit and I joined everyone else by their shelters. I went in Rapunzle’s shelter and we hung out and talked to the rest of the family as the rain finally stopped. 

The little tunnel I waited out the storm in.

Cool swallow nests.

Our little shelters in the storm

After the storm I walked around with my macro clip on my iPhone and took lots of pictures of cool little insects in the shrubby landscape.

Cool little beetle

Tephritidae

Dirty hiker hands. Still gotta eat with them!

Weather turned nice!

Sara’s friend Kyle is coming to camp with us and is also rumored to be bringing trail magic at around 6 pm tonight and it’s only 4. We kill time by playing a game that M&M teaches us. At about 7 pm a white mini cooper shows up and out comes Kyle with two pizzas, a 6 pack, bottle of whisky and sour patch kids. We are starving so we this is some major trail magic. The pizza is crushed by us in minutes and we pass around the bottle of whisky. We happily feast on sour patch kids and then I pull out my MP3 player and start playing Disney songs. Kyle fits in immediately when he starts singing “Prince Ali” from Aladdin with me. Time flies by as we take goofy videos of us howling and cramming into Leah and Sara’s Big Agnes. We pass out easily. 

Gunna miss my hiker family!
My last night on trail went out with a bang as we enjoy the trail magic and sing Disney songs!

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