Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 75 : North Fork of the Feather River

29 miles today
1312 miles to go

I eat breakfast as the sun begins to lighten the sky over Mt Lassen. The air temperature is so perfect for sleeping I didn't feel like getting up. Deflating my mattress always helps change that feeling, today barely. The thing that finally did was the thought that I have about a liter and a half of water and its sixteen miles to Soldier Creek where I will get more. The sooner I start hiking the cooler it will be. Someday I'll be done with this hike, when I am there will be a day when I'll wake up and choose to stay in bed longer, because I can, then, not now. Now I have to move. I'm hiking before six as the sun pops up and casts long shadows across everything. This is the Pacific Crest trail. Today it seems to be doing its best to follow the crest. I walk around and along a ridge in what seems to be almost a complete circle. I stay on the ‘crest’ rather than drop down a bunch of switchbacks and the climb a bunch back out. This is great. What becomes mentally difficult is when I think the trail should start down and it keeps climbing up. And up some more. The morning drags on and on as I don't seem to be making any progress. Very slow? No I feel like I'm setting a good pace. Just a feeling of a general lack of progress. Part of the trail is just about buried under big thick bushes. It's in the sun, it's hot in the sun today. I could feel it when I first got up. It's going to be a hot day. I move quickly, as quickly as I can. My knee no longer bothers me or slows me down. I resolved my shoe issue with a couple of well placed square knots. The No Skip team is firing on all cylinders today. Except that I don't seem to have enough water for a hot day. Keep moving, we’ll worry about that when we actually run out. I reach the PCT Midpoint sometime in the late morning. Wow! Did I really already hike half of the PCT? That it mind bogglingly crazy. One day at a time, one mile at a time. It's the days and the miles that are the hardest part! There is a dearth of water in these parts I think I'm going to have to start caring more than I have been. I've only been carrying about a liter because there have been so many places to get more. That has ended. So I trudge on down the hot trail thinking about water. You know you don't have enough water when you spend all your time thinking about how much water you don't have. Fortunately most of the trail is shaded at this point. On and on I go. It's also not a lot of up or down. Mostly traversing across the hills. If an uphill last more than I few minutes I start complaining out loud. “Really? Do we really have to go up hill? I know the highway is downhill from here. Why are we going up?” Nobody answers. The trail engineers know why. It's done, it's been decided. Stop complaining and climb the stupid hill. Oh, wow look at the view. Sometimes it's obvious why after the fact, sometimes it isn't. A lot like life in general. 

Soldier Creek is bee zone central. There are lots and lots of yellow jackets. Not sure what they are doing but they are busy as bees doing it. I need water and bees don't bother me much. I get three and a half liters in my two water bags and another liter to drink now using my microfilter. Hooray for the microfilter. I love the fact fact I get to drink cold clean water almost immediately. I pack on the three and a half liters into my pack. I'll be able to drink one and a half liters in forty minutes. Once that is gone I still have two more liters. Yay! Sure it's heavier, but I don't have to think about water for the rest of the day. I leave Soldier Creek knowing the next stop is highway thirty six. So, ah, why are we going up again? “Really? …” And so it goes. The ranting gives me something to do for a while. Then I stop, pull out something to eat and munch on it. I will be sick of all these snacks by the time this hike is over. Right now though, these Oreos are consoling me. Stupid hill.

Piper’s Mom maintains a water cache and trail magic at highway thirty six. I don't know Piper or her mom but I have fond thoughts about them as I sit in the shade drinking an ice cold can of orange soda and eating some ritz crackers with peanut butter snacks. Thanks Piper’s Mom, and thank you too Piper.

Obiwan shows up in a cloud of dust. Getting a ride back to the trail from Chester. We set off together towards Drakesbad. A goal for both of us. The difference is that I want to get there tomorrow and he wants to get there tonight. I've already hiked eighteen miles today he's fresh from a nearo in town where he had two giant milkshakes and other town food. It sounded awesome and his descriptions lasted for miles. We stop briefly at Stover Spring where apparently another thru-hiker was accosted by a mountain lion. At least according to the blog post I saw pinned to the tree trunk at the trailhead. We saw no mountain lion. We did see a water truck drive up from the logging operations that we're going on down below. Not quite as exciting as a mountain lion. 

I eventually tire out not having as much calorie rich town food as Obiwan and stop beneath a few pine trees on the top of the hill with a nice breeze. Obiwan speeds off, I sit in the fragrant pine needles and make a peanut butter tortilla. I chew it slowly and then eat some cheese. I relax and enjoy the day. It really is a beautiful day. I like the heat. I'd rather have a hot day than a cold one. I check the map. Three more miles. No problem. I take my time, the last three miles of a twenty nine mile day. No hurry, no reason to risk hurting myself. Down to the North Fork of the Feather River. I set up camp. I cook Captain John’s Navy Bean Soup. It's quite tasty and I like it. I drink some Cytomax to re-balance my electrolytes. Whatever that means. I like it because I feel refreshed after a drink of it. I complete my chores and climb in my tent. I have a stream full of water so I do the enhanced towel bath procedure. I feel cleaner than I've felt in days. Well since I took a shower at Belden two days ago. The air is calm and just right I lay back and relax and daydream as the sun slowly sets in the west. The best part is that my camp is in the shade so it's cool and comfortable. I get to listen to flowing water too. Something I haven't been able to do very much since leaving the High Sierra.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the halfway point. Major milestone! Thoroughly enjoy reading your posts!