9/21 Goats and Elk

by sedona maniak

Miles hiked: 17.56 (2342.62 to 2360.18)
Elevation: + 2058/-3207
Number of damned elk buglings between 3am and 6am: roughly 459

At around 10pm, I vaguely heard some footsteps and shuffling about near my tent. Listening to Tolkien on my ipod means that I ingore most sounds until I drift off. The muted shuffling about stopped, I fell asleep for about an hour, then awoke to hoofs and bugling, which lasted most if the night. At some point, I grew used to the bugling long enough to fall asleep again. It was maybe half an hour later, however, when mountain goats started loudly clambering up the rockslide across from the camp, with young ones bleating loudly at every talus slide. Any Minute's alarm went off in her tent across from me, and I was certain that I'd managed a total of two hours of sleep all night. She called over to me, "you have to see this!" Tired, cold, I still couldn't resist. I hopped out in my long underwear to see the elk herd just across from us on the hillside with the bright white goats grazing on the little plateau above them.
We both heard a zipper then, and discovered that the previous night's footsteps had been a southbounder. We'd woken him up, not knowing he had set up next to us. He actually thanked us for getting him started early, for once. Guess he's the sleeping-in type. Bastard.
As usual, we packed up and walked. Halfway through the day, there was a backpacker and snowmobiler shelter with a trail magic cooler and hiker register. I drank a gatorade and a couple of Rainier beer(s) [for my Canadian readers who believe "beer" to be the plural form of "beer"]. I signed the register and looked for folks I knew, as usual. We decided to go another 5 or so miles to the last water in either 11 or 24 miles (the two PCT apps, Guthook and Halfmile, occasionally disagree greatly about water sources). Often, maps are little help for seasonal water or stagnant pools that once were lakes. So, we hiked a little further, fished some water out of the little stream, and are both hoping the elk will tone it down a little tonight.