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Not My Mountain, the Second Day

Since the mountain is hidden behind a smoky veil, I decide to hike a few of the 13 miles around the lake, saving my trip to Timberland Lodge—on the actual mountain—for the next day, when the smoke is supposed to clear. I want to hike the part that is the Pacific Crest Trail. (I also want to sit in my tent and work on a writing project.)

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I drive a mile and a half up the road, rather than take the trail that goes through my campground and two others. In the parking lot near one end of the lake, I don knee straps, bunion guards, ankle support (newly added for my rolling right ankle, it worked great!), grab my trekking poles (which I don’t use) and set off to fall in love with these unfamiliar mountains.

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As I step onto the PCT, its history shoots through my feet to my heart. I feel the spirits of the thousands of other adventurers who have hiked some portion or all of the trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. I am one with Cheryl Strayed (who lives in Portland), sans ill-fitting boots and 75 pound pack, who wrote about her adventure on the PCT in “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”

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The trail is mostly flat after a few switch backs from the lake up a talus slope to the PCT section. It’s pleasant, if not monotonous; no breathtaking vistas. There’s a section of winter blow-down that, I’m sorry Oregonians, but it kind of made me laugh. Pickup sticks compared to the mighty giants that thunder to the ground in my mountains.

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The trail splits at one of the other corners of the lake, one fork continuing on the PCT, the other going on around the lake. It’s my turn around point.

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It’s an easy hike, but when I finish, as always, I thank my body for its strength and my circumstances that provide the opportunity to follow my bliss. It won’t always be like this; it could all change in a flash or in a slow decline until one day I realize it’s done. Getting old might be hell, but for now I am loving every minute.

But these are still not my mountains.

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