Obligatory John Muir Quote
Dry and brittle leaves crunched under my feet - leaves once green and hanging over the heads of last year's thru-hikers. They too must have felt elated as the McCloud River came into view. I watched a Steller's jay make its way up a tall snag without the use of its wings; it simply hopped from branch to branch, climbing higher up each rung of its makeshift ladder. I had always found the Steller's jay to be an incredibly beautiful, albeit obnoxious bird. As any piece of writing about nature or hiking seems to contain an obligatory John Muir quote (or two or three ... ), I too shall favor tradition. I will include, however, not an inspiring quote about "the Range of Light" or throwing a loaf of bread in an old sack and jumping over the back fence, but rather one that echoes my own disdain towards the Steller's jay: "The Steller [sic] jays were of course making more noisy stir than all the other birds combined; ever coming and going with loud bluster, screaming as if each had a lump of melting sludge in his throat."