Day Nine July 26: Helen Lake to Western Terminus, Final Leg, 12 miles or so

Today was the final leg of this journey, my last day on this trail. We had a bit of condensation on both tents and sleeping bags, but nothing a little sunshine couldn’t take care of. We packed up and headed out for the day.

It was a stunning morning. There were walls of red and purple rock surrounding us as we climbed up on the plateau that was filled with moss, meadow and flowers. The morning walk was music to my feet, mellow and fairly flat. Salamander was a bit ahead and came to an abrupt stop. I knew something was up. I slowly came up from behind and there she was, a female moose. She was grand, standing within fifty feet of us and just watching us, as we locked eyes on her. We stood still for a few minutes and we’re intrigued by this massive horselike creature. As we turned to move on, the male moose showed his palms. Ought Oh, we had no idea there was a male too! We both looked at each other and slowly pressed on.

We continued on and walked across more meadows, around willows and ponds, while crossing many rocks and creeks. Salamander was within eye sight and like she does, vanished into the scenery. I crossed a fairly large creek and yes, lost the trail. Dang it. It appeared to head into the burn area and so I started my venture up and over burned out trees, logs and what had been so lush and green, turned into death and destruction. It was disheartening as I meandered through the distinct darkness. I was looking for Salamander’s footprints but couldn’t find them and started questioning myself, am I on the right trail? I checked my Gaia App and that silly little arrow that tells me what way to go, was headed right on track. Hmm, I wonder where the elusive Salamander went? After a good hour or so, my legs were painted with black soot. The trees that had been burned more than a year ago, rubbed up against me and made me look like a coal miner. Then to my surprise, I heard from behind, my partner. How did you get behind me? Ends up that Salamander never made it over the creek. She instead followed the water down, looking at fish in the pools and after a mile or two, realized that she had taken a wrong turn. We stopped, had lunch and filled up on water.

After our break, we took off for our last pass, Rock Sea Pass. Of course we must climb a final pass to concrete this trail and put it in the history books. Salamander and I looked at the map and decided to meet on the other side at Milky Spring. I put my head down and started hiking. It was a good four miles up and over the pass with an 1800’ climb, on my last day. I felt like a slug moving up the final switchbacks. As I made it to the summit, there were some day hikers on top. I received applause and Chris, an amateur videographer, was filming me. You’d think I climbed Everest as he wanted to ask all the pertinent questions like how long have you been out here, and where are you going, and when was your last shower? It was a wonderful afternoon, having my moment of fame with these young kids.

I headed off the mountain and made my way down to Milky Spring. It was a gentle descent, unlike others. The rock walls were towering around me and I thought I heard a goat or sheep calling me. I looked around but to no avail, only saw a marmot and pica running from rock to rock. As I came off the mountain, I saw the lush green meadow shimmering below. There Salamander was waiting for me. As I offloaded my pack, she tells me I should go soak my feet in the creek. What a splendid idea. I bit, and walked over. I took off my crocks and went to the Milky Spring, sat down and oh my, the water was freezing. The Milky Spring is a glaciated spring! I have never seen a spring that flowed from glacier water. There were a pile of rocks that this spring sprung from. It’s was brutally cold, to the point that my very tough, calloused feet could not bare more than thirty seconds in this milky murky water. I laughed at the thought of soaking my aching feet and realized I’d have to wait till tonight, when I get off the trail and into our glorious Holiday Day Inn Express Hotel!

Salamander and I ate our final meal on the trail, tuna, peanut butter and waffle crisp, Parmesan Cheese and a few ginger candies. Yummy for my tummy, ugh! All I really wanted was a burger and fries! And maybe a salad. We still had another 6.5 miles to go and it was already 3pm. All either of us could do was knock out this trail and get to the car. There was a bit of downhill with lots of rolling ups and downs. Salamander was like a horse going back to the barn. After she left, I didn’t see her again. I was milling, wanting to take it all in, my final day walking with Jesus. This has been quite a test in trials, endurance, perseverance and overcoming. As I look back on these past days, I understand why I needed this more than ever. This has been a year of heartache, with my Mom passing and just before I came out here, talking with my cousin Shari and hearing of my Mom’s sister passing, Auntie Gerry.

From left to right Auntie Gerry, My Mom & Grandma Mom (all in Jesus’ arms}

God has reminded me how important it is that I know where my family and friends will spend eternity. I surround myself with mostly Christians, yet God has placed some special people in my life that are unsure of their salvation. I was walking through the lush green meadows this morning, and just as quickly, it turned to ash and ruins. I prayed and wondered what was I suppose to make of this? It was so clear in my soul, you can be with me in this lush vast garden or you can choose not to follow me, and your eternity will be dark and empty. I have a handful of fiends and family who do not know Jesus like I do. And I understand what the Lord is telling me; there is a mission field of unbelievers, who will never know me, unless someone shares my love with them. I now know what He wanted of me and I have an obvious path. Not one that is unknown, not something that I need to stumble through but clear and distinct direction that takes my family and friends directly to your loving arms.

I made it to the car at 730pm. It was bittersweet but I was ready to set my next path. This was clear, concise and full of hope. The trail that leads directly to you. My true compass and perfected direction. Thank you Lord for our time to hope, to dream and to know, that you have designed me for Your perfect and wonderful purpose. Until we meet again, I so truly love you and cannot wait to introduce new family and friends into your kingdom.

Lay not up for yourself treasures here on earth, where moths and most cloth corrupts, and where thieves break through and steal; But lay up yourself treasure in heaven, where neither moths or rust clothes corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal; For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21

This concludes my trail for 2021. It has been a pleasure hiking along with you and especially my most trusted and faithful friend Jesus! I will continue my hikes for God, accompanied by my dog wonder Zoey, from my backyard near Sacramento, California. Until we meet again, May God keep you protected and may you share the good news of our Lord with everyone you meet. Godspeed ❤️ and remember to always love!

One thought on “Day Nine July 26: Helen Lake to Western Terminus, Final Leg, 12 miles or so

  1. Thanks for the wonderful and inspirational blogs Kelly! I read all of them and hope we can enjoy the outdoors and the blessing of yours and George’s friendship often in the months and years to come! God bless.
    Moody & Mel

    Liked by 1 person

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