Mile 1082 To 1063
The mocking bird is misnamed. It is really more of a mimicking bird. It has a talent for reproducing the songs of other birds, and like me, seems to posses an unnatural fondness for the sound of its own voice.
There is however another bird, a truly mocking bird of the cruelest kind. It is the Mountain Chickadee. Thru-hikers, when traveling at higher elevations such as Mount Laguna, Big Bear, or the Sierras, are subjected to its haunting mocking call. Oh sure, your grandmother may have taught you to recognize its call as “chick-a-dee-dee-dee.” And there are times when that’s exactly how it sounds. But there are other times when this cruel creature mocks thru-hikers in a manner reminiscent of a test in the Hunger Games. Once you know what this little bird is actually saying, you can never get it’s mocking call out of your mind. You will hear it over and over again, torturing you. The call of this little monster is clearly and unmistakably – “A Cheese Burger!”
I did not invent this claim of cheese burger. In fact, at a rest break I mentioned the haunting cheese burger bird to a thru-hiker. He immediately turned to his buddy and said “See, I told you that bird was saying Cheese Burger!”
The Chickadee could just as easily say “Brussels Sprouts” or “Blood Pudding”. But no, this little mocker clearly understands the power of words.
Our goal today is 20 miles. There is a tent site at Lilly Pond in 19 and change, which is close enough. We continue to traverse minor snow drifts, foreshadowing the significant snow we expect at Sonora Pass in a few days. The forecast again is for afternoon thunderstorms, yet we seem to be struggling to keep moving. It seems when we set a lower goal, we manage to live down to it. At highway 88 (Carson Pass) the visitor center volunteer rangers provide trail magic, in the form of apples and soda. We enjoy the magic, but it seems to be slowing us down rather than speeding us up. We see dark clouds around us all day, but nothing actually dumps on us.
It is Mountain Goat’s birthday, but we are actually celebrating crossing the 1,000 mile mark. It seems strange because the miles were counting up before the flip, but going south we are now counting down.
We do make it to camp in time to setup before the rain. Every time I come out of my tent it rains. When I go back in it stops. This happens enough times that I start believing I am the rain maker. We can see lightning, but so far the worst of the storm appears to be passing us to the west. By 8:00 it is our turn. It is raining pretty hard and continues for about an hour.