August 24th, 2018
Grider Creek campground mm 1649.5 to Marble Valley Cabin mm 1623.5
Distance: 26 miles
I woke early and found Flowers and the Kid also packing up. I wished the Kid happy birthday and gave him the only present I could…the best oatmeal bar from my food bag, a peach Bobo. He ate it on the spot. He’s a sweet guy, so I wished I had gotten him something better.
His lack of age has been a fun topic for awhile. We have made lots of lewd comments and joked about how half the stuff we do in front of him would land us in jail. But not anymore, he is a man now (except that he still can’t legally drink alcohol). It is astonishing how mature he is for his age. Also astonishing is how people of all ages get along on the trail…it is the great equalizer. But I still can’t help but feel a motherly affinity for him. My birthday is only 2 days later but the span of years is significant. Whatever, we both hike the same miles, and that is all that matters.
We had a huge climb out of the valley. It was gradual at first, then rose 4,000′ in 8 miles. There was a lot of poison oak in the lower elevations. We met a forest firefighter on a road about halfway up and he warned us to lookout for bow hunters. Lot’s of dangers on the trail but we take it all in stride.
The smoke had cleared out quite a bit today and we had some views once we got to the ridgeline.
We had entered the Marble Mountain Wilderness and the terrain got pretty rugged. By the end of the day, there was an awesome escarpment of marble that just awed. There were also numerous trail crews out working hard, and I made sure to thank them all. They make the trail possible and they were actually thanking me for hiking, which was ironic. I am privileged, is all I can say.
I called it a day at a derelict cabin beneath Marble Mountain and was later joined by the 7 other SOBOs. I generally like to be by myself but this is such an awesome group, I am loving the company. The Kid played his own ‘happy birthday’ song on his air piano thing (sorry I don’t know the name of it) and we all wondered off to bed eventually. Also, deer and fawns were hanging with us all night, even brazingly coming into the middle of camp. They were all waiting for us to pee so they could lick the salt. They are cute but I don’t think very highly of them after this trip.