Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Day 75: To be the man who walked a thousand miles

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Date: July 13, 2017
Miles: 18.5 miles (29.8km), from Wide Creek to mile 1,005.9.
Health: Feeling great. Knee bothers a little but it's getting better.

Getting to sleep until 5:15am felt so good, it was like a luxury. Getting up from my sleeping bag and knowing that I would have to jump into an ice cold river in few minutes felt like less of an luxury. I tried to listen to the sound of the river in hopes of hearing less water going through, but to no luck. It sounded just as forceful as it did last night.

I got out and went down to the river to see if the water level had decreased during the night and it looked like it had dropped maybe a feet (30cm) which might not sound like much, but it also looked like the current wasn't as strong as it was last night.

I got back up to the camp and packed everything in my pack watertight and made sure all my electronics were double protected. Blis divided us to two five person groups with him leading the other, and me the other. We did few practice runs of i-formation on dry land and went through all the different calls needed to move as a single unit. 

It was time to get into the water. We all moved down to the river and Blis and I looked at the river and the current. I asked which team should go first and Blis pulled out his hand in rock-paper-scissors style. I lost on the second go so we were the first ones to go in.

I felt good about everything else except the landing on the other side. The creek was so wide that I couldn’t see how deep it was, and if we would even be able to climb up from the spot we’ve chosen. But we were the first to go over so we would soon see.

I told everyone that I'd steer us towards the small rock on the other side and then starting from the back people would climb on it, and I'd then lower myself down stream to get on it too. As a line, we were so long that I’d have to position myself way above the landing site for others to get on it.

I was wearing my rain gear as I knew I'd spend the most time in the stream, first waiting for others to get behind me, and then for them to climb out of the water. I jumped in and took my position waiting for others to get behind me. The current was strong but nothing too bad. As soon as everyone was in position we started moving. Midstream the water got so deep that my hands and poles were under the water and the water went up my sleeves and up to my chest. Sure wakes you up!

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As we reached the position I was aiming for, the water before the small rock was so deep, and the current so strong, that people couldn't get up on the rock. Plan B. I moved us up towards the larger rock. I didn't want to go there first as the rock face was so steep it looked really hard to climb up on to.

As we got to the second rock the current got stronger and people behind had no change to climb the rock face from such a deep water. Jack, or Foot Loose, gave me a push and I used my poles to push myself up on the rock. This meant that I wasn’t in the front with poles, taking the current for the others, so we had to get everyone out quickly. I pulled Jack up, and then we pulled everyone quickly up.

We were all cold and shivering but we needed to stay here and help the other team up. Blis had watched what we did so he could avoid the mistakes we made. They got into the water and made their way over the stream and we pulled them up starting from behind. Lastly we pulled Blis up. Now everyone was over and we had crossed the Wide Creek.

Morning views.  

Morning views.  

As everyone was completely soaked and cold, we needed to get moving immediately. We just got on the trail and started walking as fast as we could. It took me a good hour and a half to dry up.

Finally the sun came up and we found a nice little rock spot were we stopped to remove our wet gear and dry off a little. It didn't take long for everyone to arrive. Everyone was in high spirits as the river crossings had been kind of daunting.

Trail goes here.  

Trail goes here.  

Today looked pretty easy on the elevation map, not much climbing and relatively "flat" sections. But like on previous days, the miles were hard to come by. We, again, climbed snowbanks, hopped streams, and navigated the ever disappearing trail. All this takes so much time and energy, and makes the progress so slow.

My shoes have been constantly wet. When ever they happen to have a moment to dry, there's a new stream or something muddy that we need to jump into and they're completely soaked again. Or if it’s not the water, then it's just the snow melting on them.  I've already gotten so used to putting wet socks and shoes on in the morning that I don't even notice it anymore.

LL.  

LL.  

At one point I leapfrogged with Cannonball for a while and as we both got frustrated with the snowy forest, we just hiked together. It was fun to hike with her again as it's been almost a month since we hiked together the last time.

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It's funny how we spend a month hiking with all these people through the desert. You meet a lot of cool people and you kind of take it for granted that you're going to meet them at the next water source or town. You get to know them and think you're going to hike with them all the way to Canada. And then bam, Sierra comes along and our trail family breaks up and our whole bubble disappears. All these people suddenly disappear from around you and for most of them you didn't even have a change to say goodbye.

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Most people either got off trail, or skipped somewhere north over Sierra, or flipped and are now coming south. I really miss so many of the awesome people we hiked together at the desert. I'm hoping to catch up to them, but it seems kind of impossible as they're almost 500 miles ahead.

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After covering couple more snowfields and climbing a little, we meet Storyteller who has been waiting for us. We hike on together, talking, and soon reach the pass we were climbing. This was super easy.

Dorothy Lake.  

Dorothy Lake.  

As there's no spot on the top to stay, we hike a little down and then break for lunch on some rocks that are out of snow. Others soon arrive but Foot Loose and Indigo take a little longer. Foot Loose is having some trouble with his leg cramping.

On the shore of Dorothy Lake.  

On the shore of Dorothy Lake.  

We have a long lunch and I fall asleep for awhile. Soon it's time to move again. From here we want to get off trail for awhile. By going around a lake from the other side we can skip three river crossings. We pass the Dorothy lake from the non trail side and it's rather easy in the snow. Soon we're back on the trail, having skipped three river crossings. Awesome!

Today we cross a big milestone, 1,000 miles (1,600km). Soon after the lake reroute we reach the marker and spend a good half an hour celebrating and taking photos. Cannonball and Storyteller do a proper streaking to celebrate the achievement. It feels awesome to be here but I'm already waiting for tomorrow and being able to get rid of all the heavy Sierra gear. Things are getting serious as we soon have "only" Northern California, Oregon, and Washington left.

Happy Feet.  

Happy Feet.  

Storyteller and Cannonball.  

Storyteller and Cannonball.  

Girls.  

Girls.  

Boys.  

Boys.  

For the last part of the day we hike to a spot where we setup for tomorrow's waterless section and getting to town. We have little over 10 miles to go to Sonora Pass from where we need to hitch down to town. We're in a hurry because I need to get to the Post Office in Bridgeport before it closes as tomorrow is Friday and the PO isn't open during the weekend.

Cannonball, Happy Feet, Indigo, and LL.  

Cannonball, Happy Feet, Indigo, and LL.  

Airplane Mode and Storyteller.  

Airplane Mode and Storyteller.  

We camp on a nice little meadow next to a river and make a small fire to dry our wet gear. We decide to sleep late again and leave at 6am tomorrow morning. I'm hoping the trail is easy so we can still make it to Bridgeport in time. As I go to sleep, I keep thinking about the trail so far, and how I can’t believe we’ve walked over thousand miles. While it feels like an achievement, we still over 1,600 miles to go. Not even halfway yet. That feels so daunting.