Distance hiked today: 21.1 miles / 33.9 km.
Flowers everywhere, pretty much sums up the day. There have actually been a lot of wildflowers along the whole trail, but today they seemed like more of the main attraction. Delicate and thin, they blow around in the wind.
The Snow Plant is the strangest, growing like a cocoon out of the ground before flowering. It can't photosynthesize, so it grows under pine trees where it steals products of photosynthesis from their roots.
There have also been mushrooms - little orange wrinkly ones that grow in the snow melt moisture.
It was pretty windy, with patches of snow in the more shaded areas. It's always tricky to dismount from a snow drift - steps usually form themselves in the snow, but when the snow drift drops off steeply the steps get blown out into 2 lines where people slide down. I call this the shoe-ski. I have yet to successfully shoe-ski without falling on my butt, but Colin is quite good at it. I prefer to carefully notch my steps down as I go, occasionally running down the final couple of steps into the dirt before I can slip.
We camped on a plateau that was somehow less windy... something about the tentsite seemed to be bypassing the worst of it. Colin still built a windbreak with dead branches he dragged from around the area, although the wind died down at night.
The nature channel struck again: a deer was running close by, oblivious to our presence. It was bouncing along on the trail with all four hooves in the air like a happy Bambi, when it heard me (yelling to Colin to look at the deer). It was so startled, and stopped running so suddenly, that it skidded in the dirt on the trail throwing up a cloud of dust. It frantically looked around until it spotted us, and then took 10 seconds to decide which direction to run in, so shocked by our presence that it took it a while to decide. It was probably the most distinct emotions I've ever seen in a deer and it was hilarious. But even better were the skid marks that it left on the trail, ending in little hoof prints. (Pictured but hard to see on camera).
Total trail mileage: 1067.1 miles / 1717 km