Thursday, April 25, 2013 – 23.8 km
FR422 had lovely views. Most of the best campsites were after Little Pine Flats, where they showed fewer signs of use and the scenery was most impressive.
The track began a long descent out of the mountains and into pastureland, where it adopted a policy of ‘path of most resistance’. The trail was extremely overgrown. If you’re hiking this section and on a nice footpath, you’re probably not on the AZT. You’re on an animal trail, or a trail made by a wise horse that was taken on the AZT but decided to make detours. If you lose the AZT, just head in the worst, most sadistic direction the path could possibly take, and you’ll probably be A-OK. Having trouble staying on the trail, I eventually concluded that there was no point in spending time trying to stay on a trail that was inferior to no trail at all, so I just set out along the river for awhile and met up with the AZT at a point where it was more clearly defined.
Just beyond the first gate, I saw a cow. A very masculine cow. Then the cow stood up… BULL. Luckily, it wasn’t cut out for Madrid and ran away whenever I got close. Unluckily for me, it kept running along the AZT so I wasn’t rid of it for awhile. Later on, I found myself following a trail of fresh cow droppings, an experience that I find thoroughly unpleasant because they’re always swarming with flies and I feel afraid that the flies will fly from the droppings to me and then maybe back to the droppings and then back to me and it would all be very traumatic. The trail of droppings ended at a gate beside a group of cows.
The gate was a two-loops-of-wire gate and I was having trouble getting it open. It occurred to me that closing the gate would probably be equally difficult, and the group of cows was standing right there, all hyped up and eager to escape if I were unable to close the diabolical gate (they looked bored and unaware of my angst). I ended up squeezing through the gap between the gate and gatepost. My pack I had to lift overtop and at one point it snagged on the barbed wire; I’m lucky this event didn’t end in a second category of traumatic experience.
I camped at Sycamore Creek.