Sunday, June 05, 2011

gray jay

gray jay by wereldmuis
gray jay, a photo by wereldmuis on Flickr.

When I stopped to finish my Clif bar at the Mt Willey cairn, I was accosted by a pair of gray jays.

I encouraged them by giving them a few crumbs of my bar. There are probably reasons you shouldn't do this, but I find gray jays very hard to resist.

At this point I felt pretty optimistic. I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of re-crossing Mt Field to get back to Crawford Depot, but my only other option was to travel south another 2.7 miles to Rt 302 via the Kedron Flume Trail, and then hike back north on the highway. This seemed unappealing, so I retraced my tracks to the Avalon Trail.

Things got dicey at the Avalon Trail. This trail is very typical for the Whites. It drops away beneath you unrelentingly for over a mile, and there are frequent encounters with steep rocky slides covered in running water that are difficult to navigate.

I'd been feeling fine up until this descent, which gave me quite a beating. By the time I got back to the car I was exhausted!

Despite that, this experience makes me think my training hikes don't have a huge benefit.

In all, this turned out to be a great start to the hiking season! The weather couldn't have been better, the bugs stayed away, and I hiked three of the 4000-footers in one day!

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