Sculpture v2: Unexpected, Unexplained.

This little piece of enigmatic metalwork is somewhere on the PCT just South of Casa de Luna, nobody (by which I mean me) knows why its there. At first glance it appears to be an arrow, maybe pointing in the direction of trail, however it is not at a junction and points 30 degrees off trail into a bush. In addition, the fletching is off, leading me to believe that it was meant as a conjunction of the Venus (♀) and Mars (♂) symbols. (it could also be Mars and the modern Earth symbol {♁} but that seems unlikely to me) These symbols in a modern context are often used to refer to gender, and their orientation in this sculpture is rotated, so I think the Artist intends for us to flip gender on its side…?

This may not count as sculpture if your conceptualization of sculpture requires a human artisan, but mine does not and this is the spitting image of an eagle anyway. Eagle Rock is a fixture of the PCT, such that I knew it was coming up, and I had only seen about 3 people on trail (not counting 100 yards from roads, and even including them its not many) in the last 1200 miles of the PCT.

These ended up being on a dead end spur, (I briefly headed towards Los Vegas for a doomed attempt to meet up with Mammoth for a third time.) but a pair of (shī) randomly off route 66? What in the world? They’re just in the desert; they even have registers despite not being on a trail, but no explanation.

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On a Plain

Lots of trail magic in Eastern MN, between trail volunteers and random passersby. I had a stretch of nightly hosting, and made a couple new friends. Including Henry, whom gave me a lift back into town during some mild rain wherein we played frisbee golf, ate mango, and talked about mysticism. From town (Fergus Falls) I met up with a friend from home, who was in school nearby at Morris and spent a weekend with him. Which included sorta low-key crashing his friends’ wedding, (that makes two for those of you counting at home) and gorging myself on cupcakes that nobody else seemed to be eating. Met a guy named Dale right on near the border with North Dakota, and after passing me several times just wandering down the road who after getting shot down offering me rides, ended up taking me in for a night. He had a rad Lego collection set up in his living room and a little wooded area with a fireplace that was all done up with Xmas lights and such. In the morning we stopped into his shop where we were greeted by a whole bunch of friendly farm kittens, not quite to the extent as I had seen in OH, but pleasant as all get out nonetheless.

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North Dakota surprised me with how well punctuated it is, however the roadwalks do drag on endlessly and some of the trail seems to be almost through people’s backyards, which can be a little awkward. The lack of shade led me to hike long into the nights, and spend my days in dry shady culverts. The non-corrugated ones are especially nice, although in a pinch you can sit just outside on the leeward side from the sun. The empty night roads  make for a pleasant trek, featuring wide open to the expanses with low horizon lines all around, and populated only by occasional trees, shrub, or ditch. While Its doubtful I would’ve been hassled while sleeping beside the road, I was thankful for my tent’s dark green shade, which likely drew less attention as I tore down camp in the mornings. The days I did hike during daylight hours were brutally hot, retaining much of that Minnesotan Humidity from just across the border. I certainly am a child of winter.

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Roasting in the sun, if you zoom in you can read the 106 F on my watch, and see the blank horizons beyond. The Shirt is wet with sweat, otherwise the white salt stains would be showing up, emanating from the sternum strap in particular. Luckily (not really, I am sure it was by design.) water was generally available, as the trail tracks the Sheyenne River pretty closely. There is a big gap between the Sheyenne and New Rockford where the Trail picks up the McClusky Canal, hitching back and forth to town for water is pretty weird, and people seem almost a little offended when you ask to get dropped off in the middle of nowhere, but then again, I don’t always jump to explain what I am up to either.