MIKE MacFERRIN'S OLYMPIC SOLO TREK....July 15, 2004
I want to remark that this section of trail is fine... that perhaps fifteen miles upriver they would find the overgrown, weedy mess of woodland trail in urgent need of repair. But I know it'd be a pointless venture... trail crews have always been famous for over-maintaining the first few miles of a path (where the dayhikers roam), and quite frankly I enjoy the difficult, remote sections of trail better, just the way they are. So I smile and nod, affirming their toil, and continue downriver.
I pass several sets of dayhikers today, being less than five miles from the trailhead. I also spot two new sets of mountain lion tracks, both distinctly different from the trail I spotted yesterday. By mid-morning it's obvious that I'll finish the trail today, a day early, and I know that Cate will not be here to pick me up until mid-day tomorrow. I eat lunch at the trailhead, hanging out, hoping to hitch a ride back to the highway from a generous stranger. A family of five pulls up in a motor home, and although they're friendly enough, they seem wary of this lone smelly, shaggy backpacker at the trailhead. I pick up my gear and start walking, West down the Undie Road, back towards Highway 101. Eventually, a small car comes down the road behind me, and I push out my thumb with a broad, friendly smile. An older couple from Forks (where I'm headed!) stop... they'd come to pick berries for the morning, and are headed back to town. Sure, they can give me a ride... hop on in! It's nice to know I'll have an extra day in town to run errands and resupply before heading out to the coast on Saturday [July 17th].
Once back in town, I say hi to Cate, who seems unsurprised to see me early ("People always seem to finish that trail early"). I stop by the dinner at the Forks Coffee Shop, and before long am off to bed, asleep on a rooftop porch, watching a paraglider sail through the skies above this tiny logger's town. Leg one of my journey is over, and so far, everything has been grand! I look forward to traversing the legendary Olympic Coast next week. But for now, surrounded by civilization once again, a laundry list of "ToDo:" errands swims through my head... an obvious symptom of an over-developed world. Life in the backcountry is simpler... and I'll be back there soon enough.