I hear no horses, or anything but a slow moving creek.

It's time to get up, and it’s much easier these days because it's in the mid 30s; a relative toaster oven to what I was sleeping through a month ago.

I'm not really sure what I'm walking through today. There are no notable land marks on the map, and no more water sources beyond the trough I'm walking away from this morning.

As I finish packing up, a trail runner is moving south with his dog, talking about all sorts of personal topics he probably didn't want me to hear. I understand completely. Of course, he doesn't know that by the time he sees me, and he's taken a bit off guard as he clumsily runs past.

No matter. He's running without a pack, so he'll never see me again.

The rolling hills are beautiful, but they tend to fade into the background after a while.

5 mountain bikers pass by, going the opposite direction. One engages me and asks if I camped here last night.

Yeah, about 5 miles back.

"Nice! Enjoy your hike!"

I don't know what that means. I never know what that means. An attempt to be cordial, I guess. Or maybe it's a verbal replacement for the end of the paragraph of conversation he started.

I come around a bend in the trail, and there they are.

Broseph

The horses from last night.

The one horse is staring at me, but no longer looks like he’s ready to run me down.

I stop.

I nod.

What up, broseph.

I move on.

The best part about this section of rolling hills is the vastness of the landscape. I don't like being locked inside canyons as much as being in an open field, with the mountains in the distance, and being elevated just above where you're heading. I can see the mountains I'm going to be climbing next, though I don't know how long it will take me to get there.


There's not much happening today, but it's a relatively pleasant walk.

It becomes clear I'm way ahead of schedule, so I take a break on a hill, followed by a decent size climb.

And then I realize, my last half liter of water is gone. Along with the bottle it was contained in.

Damn.

I've been going uphill for at least 30 minutes. Maybe an hour.

Do I go back for it?

Do I leave a plastic bottle on the trail?

Eck.

I need that water, I still have miles to go before the next water source, and on this trail, you never know if there's actually water at the water source.

I...I have to go back.

Downhill.

I drop my pack, and start jogging down the hill.

For a while.
Lil’ dude
The trouble with going backwards on the trail to find a lost item is that you never know how far to go before cutting your losses.

Every step I take, I'm reversing the effort it took to climb the rather steep hill. Reversing the progress I already used up my limited supply of water for.

It's extremely obnoxious.

Then, you start to wonder...did I check the pack thoroughly enough? Is it back up the hill already? Should I go back and check?

You second guess yourself with every step.

But I keep jogging down the hill. I'm not walking back up the hill without a found water bottle.

I mean. I don't think I will.

WHERE

IS

IT.

Oh, there it is. Right back where I dropped my pack during an earlier break.

Erg.

Fortunately, I only have to walk back up the hill with a half liter of water, not an entire pack.

Still, it seems to take longer this time.

-

Before the sun starts to set, I come to the base of the next mountain, and fortunately there's a full creek with rushing water, and even a built-up fire ring. Someone has camped here recently, but there's no garbage to be found. Neat.


I cook some dinner, and watch the campfire burn. After it's mostly burned out, I complete the process with water from the creek. It's now pitch black.

Once upon a time, I would have been scared.

Now, I take a 5 minute walk back up the hill where there's a solid LTE coverage.

I lounge about on the internet for while, and then I notice something shining from behind the bushes.

Most of the rocks in this area have some sort of reflective substance within them, shining brightly, particularly within purview of a headlamp.

This light, however, is coming from the bushes, where there doesn't seem to be any rocks.

I investigate, and I see it's a medium sized spider, with eyes big enough to be reflective.

Huh.

That's curious.

As I make my way back to camp, I see reflections everywhere.

It's the rocks, of course.

Except I don't see that anymore.

All I see is thousands of spider eyes.