Freedom Grits

Day 36 – Periodically last night at the infamous Big Buck campground we heard a strange noise like someone was speaking through a loudspeaker. We couldn’t make out what they were saying, though, or where it was coming from. The next morning as we set off through the hills we heard the noise again, this time even louder. But as we rounded a bend the mystery was solved when we saw a road marked “California Department of Corrections.” It was loudspeaker systerm for a prison!

But goodness with the delicious smell of bacon and eggs wafting from behind the bars it didn’t seem it would be so bad to be within. Seriously, this is what thru-hiking does to you. Most of my dreams seem to involve eating. I’ve never in my life eaten so much, but it seems next to impossible to actually be full. And we carry lots of food compared to many thru-hikers who have a policy of barely eating more than a few energy bars when on the trail and then binging in towns so they don’t have to carry as much weight.

In the end we opted for cold grits & freedom and continued on our way. After winding down to the North Fork Ranger Station we curved around some hills to reveal a multi-layered vista of rolling dark green hills, a lush oak-filled valley, then bizarre pinkish red rocks and mountains fading into purple. It was a gorgeous landscape sandwich of colour and texture. As we twisted in and out of gullies along the hills we entered a sea of wildflowers which led us to a beachy campsite besides Mattox Creek where we lounged about until light rainfall lured us into our tent when it was still light out.

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