Post-Burney to Castella

Details a lil foggy on this.  I feel like the first day, was decidous-fun-time.  I-do-I.  Everyone is so far ahead at this point, I’ll never catch up?  Vague memories of a big downhill, with a big uphill after, and lots of streams crossing it.  I listened to my Balkan pop mix which has a lot more Serbian and Roma stuff than it did last year.  Just tryin to make some miles, tho I don’t know that I really did?  Did I do 25? more?  I don’t even remember.  I do recall one last uphill, then a dead flat section of at least a mile before setting up at a campsite in the last touches of dusk, everyone else there in their tents, I think a lil spooked.  I actually got up and out of there before everyone else in the AM whaaaaat.

The next day I remember even less of except it was a town day!  Guthook said something about gas station homemade burritos, I’m in.  There was a detour at one point today which was kinda annoying, but whatevs.  I’m almost to town when I realize I’ve gotten my period.  I’m lucky to get it going into town, but why, my body, why?

When every other girl on the trail barely gets a period, or skips, I get mine every 3 weeks now instead of 4.  Actually this makes slight sense to me only in that when I also had less fat on my body, in middle school/high school, I also had periods that were like 9-10 days and every 21-24 days usually.  And of course massive flow and massive pain.  Guess what!  I also didn’t understand 1. this was medically abnormal bc my mom was like suck it up, maybe hers was like that?  IDK 2. the gynos I went to didn’t say it was abnormal.  I learned only in medical school it was abnormal and only THIS weekend (couple months after the hike like 2 decades after my sister started) that she also had these crazy periods, but worse, with migraines and passing out and vomiting, and that finally she had a gyno who was like, oh, maybe you have endo, also you have bursting cysts.  I take better care of myself now and better diet + less stress + herbs/acu helped a lot, normally it’s manageable, but still it’s annnnnnoying.  Oh how this will play out in the near future….

Anyway, I have no pads but it’s only 2-3 miles to town when I realize this.  So I hustle into town, get my box, set it outside on the picnic table with my stuff.  I go back in the store, buy the last thing of pads, realize the burritos are pre-made and cheese-filled, there is not a lot I want in the store, no hot foods are available.  Blech.  I buy tea and chips and a craft beer, go back to the table.  My charger is gone.  WTF?

This is not great.  I actually happen to have a full spare battery still bc of the Burney Falls charge-a-thon but this is kinda not good. Ugh.

I head over to the PCT campsite which was a little difficult for me to find at first- there’s no map until you go through a bunch of the campsites.  Take a free! hot shower at least (disregard the quarter signs, they aren’t needed).  Chat with the other hikers who are both doing sections.  I guess I’m in that weird zone where most hikers I see either are the fast ones who got through the Sierras, or section hikers- as the other thru hikers who skipped the Sierras are a good 1-3 weeks ahead.  Sigh.  I have this brilliant idea that I can buy a new charger at the gas station.  Genius.  Schlep myself to the gas station, buy a charger, schlep back, realize I have no usb to plug in the phone.  Not my day.  Store is closed when I go back the 3rd time.  Over it.

I try to drink the craft beer hoping it will help with cramps and annoyance but I just can’t, so dump it down the toilet and go to bed.



Burney Falls of Chillin

Today is Burney Falls!  Yay.  This is something I am excited about because 1. they are one of the biggest falls in North America 2. they have a store where I can get a snack.  I roll up there by around 10 where I make two of my weirdo avocado-chicken wraps with the remains of a roasted chicken I’ve been carting around unrefrigerated since about 3pm yesterday #yolo

Can I just say something?  The visitor’s center has a shaded picnic area with outlets, and there are $2 soft-serve ice cream cones in the store.

So I hang out here for hours, obviously.

I meet a gaggle of mostly French and Israeli hikers, including the oddly-named French Pussy, which had some sort of story I can’t even remember.  I see my two buds from the day I had my mini-meltdown outside of Old Station, they are chillin by themselves closer to the store because it’s nearer the ice cream, duh.  I eat 3 cones over the course of a few hours.  Many people come and go, I’m still there, haha.  Finally I’m about to leave and we get trail magic beer and banana bread, what even!  Ok, now it’s really time to start hiking.

Some flat and then bit of an uphill for a couple miles.  A mile or two out I almost get hit by 3 bikers speeding around a bend and I almost lose it.  “Hey, just FYI this is a pedestrian only trail!  Only hikers and stock animals!”  They are insisting it’s not, they say some locals said it’s not, I don’t know what I’m talking about.  “I don’t know what to tell you, but you need to get off your bikes, it’s definitely not for biking.  The PCT doesn’t randomly become ok to bike for 2 miles of 2600 of them.”  WTH.  It’s not even like it was a dirt road- there was a steep drop off all along the right side of the trail.  Jerks.  I hate to be trail police but ya know?

I keep going, trying to get as far as I can.  I’m in more forested land now.  I skip a couple maybe sites and then get a little stuck- but finally find something sketchy but definitely big enough by this blocked off dirt road that’s not listed in my map/app.  I have a big ol’ poop from all the junk I ate today.  Maybe it will scare off the bears.  Net goes up, the mozzies have been out more and more lately.  Still did like 20.  A really good day.

Nearo-ly there

In the morning I sleep in a little because it’s only 2 miles to the ranch and I’m pretty sure I’m nearoing at this point.  I have a deadline to meet my friend in Oregon but I don’t want to go crazy and also I still had shin splints like 2-3 weeks ago?  It is also supposed to be even hotter today.  Nope.

I get to the ranch and it’s a really chill vibe.  I am very thankful these people opened up in the last years to hikers.  They have a pretty nice store, I get a couple things for resupply here like instant refried beans which are hard to find in normal stores.  They have boysenberry jam on the waffles and everyone is really excited about it.  The other dude with heat exhaustion from yesterday- Hobo- comes in beat up looking but ok.  He’s definitely taking the rest of the day off to recover.

A couple of us go into town and get Chinese food for lunch which seems like one of the better deals in town.  It’s meh, but a lot of it.  Next door is the church which has a slightly creepy sign inviting hikers in, free coffee.  We opt out but apparently they were really cool.  Instead we go over to Safeway to resupply.  I would say it’s totally worth it to not send a box to Burney but rather resupply at the ranch/in town.  You can either get a ride from the ride service like we did, or hitch on the road (comments in Guthook said it was hard, but everyone I talked to on trail that actually tried said it was easy).

Get back to the ranch, everyone is lazing about, dragging their feet.  Couple hikers head out at 4, others like me say we are hiking at 4…5 rolls around, then 6.  Chipmunk hikes out, I’m about to go but then this Siamese cat that has been like whatevs all day decides to park itself in my lap.  Well, phone has to charge a LITTLE bit more.

I end up leaving at 7:30 figuring I’ll go like 2-5 miles, wherever I find a campsite.  I don’t want to camp too close to the ranch because apparently there’s been mountain lions out and about?  Including one that left a paw print on a hiker’s tent at the ranch maybe 2 weeks ago?  Right.

There aren’t a lot of good options up front; also, there’s a ton of dirt roads and you can hear people partying out in the distance.  Meh.  I get to the point where it’s about dark, and I really don’t feel like hiking much, and decide I’m somehow going to manifest a campsite.  Couple mayyyybes, then, bingo!  F’ing trail magic whaaaaaaat.  I didn’t even remember this, this apparently is one of the big trail magics, Wild Bird Cache.  there’s a picnic table with names on it, where I decide not to write Haiku, but Hypotenuse.  Coolers full of water and lemonade.  Weird but free tins of cookies.  I don’t really need it but can’t help but try one with some lemonade.  I cowboy camp next to the table, hoping bears don’t party here, and call it.


Lions and rattlesnakes and heat, oh my!

20184718_487326264937653_3983344324636049408_n.jpgToday is the Hat Creek Rim day!  I remember reading about it but not really understanding what it is.  What it is is a super exposed deserty awesome but did I mention hot and exposed section?  Today gets to a high of 105 apparently.  Maybe more out where we were.  Funtime which I don’t know about until afterwards.  Again oops! methlab.  I mean, oops, forgotmyumbrella.

*please excuse unnecessary reference to this band that I played like one gig with 10 yrs ago that I secretly want to be in.  Call me!  🤙

I get going at maybe 5:30 which is later than I wanted but earlier was really too dark anyway.  I refuse to get up so early I need a headlamp unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Almost immediately upon starting out I see the prints of some sort of cat.  Bobcat, maybe?  They seem small.  I don’t want to think it’s a mountain lion.  The tracks are ahead of me so hopefully I’m good?  I feel like I’m making OK time but get to my first break point a little later than I’d hoped.  It would be really great if I could do 3 minute miles one-a-these days, but it never seems meant to be.  It’s colder and windier than I thought, but it’s warming up.  I’m really glad I was gifted water bc I’m really not into climbing down into the ravine for it.  Some SOBO hikers said it was beautiful there, but a bitch.

Another five miles or so and I see a pair of hikers come south just as another one blows by me.  I go for about 2 minutes then see an animal, golden, yes, a cat, with a really long tail jump back and forth across the trail a few times, then run off to one side.  Shit, it WAS a mountain lion.  Maybe a teenager, it looked like it was 2, 2.5 feet long.  Shit shit shit.  I yell out random things for a couple minutes, then really yell, because next up is a rattlesnake.  WTH?  The snake is right in the middle of the trail, quasi-curved, it won’t move, I’ve places to go.  There’s a ton of brush on the side of the trail, and I really hope there’s no buddy of his there, but I quickly scamper up and down around it.  I am really happy I have not seen many snakes on this trail so far but I still hate seeing them.  I super need to learn about tracks and scat, I don’t know anything.

After this section I get to the fire tower where there’s a cache.  I’m doing ok on water so I hold off until the next one, a big tank at Cache 22 that pretty much everyone relies on.  I get there and see this other dude who had passed me just before, being real judgy/bro’y.  Not impressed how much better you are than me.  F that.  I have to poop so don’t go immediately over to the tank.  I eat a snack after and then head over after that guy’s gone off.  It takes me a bit to get the water out and it’s kinda lousy tasting but yay!  Water.  2L should get me to about 2 miles before Burney Mountain Guest Ranch where there’s some dams and streams and stuff?  Maybe not.

The next couple hours go by in a haze.  I do pretty well actually on the exposed flats, taking a 2-5 minute break to cool off under a tree every half hourish but really just moseying on through the afternoon.  I don’t know why I’m not doing so well in the heat, that’s usually my bag.  I guess the umbrella really makes a big difference.  Brewhiker said that I’d probably want an umbrella in N Cal, I guess this is what he was talking about.  Whoops.   Also what would’ve been good is more than 2L capacity in this section.  Good idea I mailed home my 2L platy in Quincy also.  It seems it’s when I get to the downhill portion coming off the rim that I start to melt.  I end up taking an unexpected break near a road where there is a small cache and drink .5L of that.  Shoot.  I hate doing that.  I know that’s what it’s there for, but I did not plan well on this section.  Later I get to the first dam where you could swim, but there’s a million fishermen so no.  At the second dam it’s really beautiful, I’ve done 28 miles, it’s before 6pm.  I could go more but I don’t even know what the point is, I’m tiiiiiiired.  So I set an awkward cowboy camp right next to the trail.  Just, done.  I make this new meal which the key ingredient is instant quinoa (you can buy at Safeway!) and it’s kinda a game-changer.

Later Chipmunk and another hiker pass by, I guess they camped at the cave the night before.  They said they had to help another hiker who had heat exhaustion so bad he was vomiting.  He also had to hang out at that roadside water source I stopped at.  They try to talk me into doing 2 more miles.  Nah, I’m good.  I don’t even know what the point is now bc actually I can just hike in early tomorrow morning and hang out and it’s cheaper to pay a la carte for shower and stuff.  Another hiker passes by in a huge rush, he has his platypuses still in his hands, no time to put them away.  I hate this thing where I do fucking 28 miles and feel like a weakling compared to everyone else.  I felt slow last year, but it was all internal.  Now every other person I meet seems like they are in a huge rush and subtly (or not so subtly) judging you.  Ek.  Well, hopefully I can catch up and see people tomorrow.



Today was Lassen Volcanic Park and I was kinda excited for it.  We got up around 5am to hike.  Chipmunk seemed like an earlier riser than me, he doesn’t eat breakfast first thing, so he headed off and maybe I’d see him up the trail.  The uphill was pretty cool, all stacked rocky switchbacks.  There was some forest time and a crossing over the Kings Creek on a huge log which was wide and totally easy, but a little scary as it was my first one, it was pretty high up over the river which was moving at quite a good clip.  Later on- meadows!  Yay.  There were some burn areas and it was pretty exposed.  Sorta wished I had my umbrella still, but it’s all good.  I had a nice lunch break making my new favorite trail food- portable pizzas! (tomato paste pouch + GF tortilla + pepperoni…no cheese, please)- by an unmarked water source that was in full flow.  Some nice views of snow-covered Lassen in the distance.  It would be cool to climb it but it’s nowhere near the trail.

For the Chester to Burney stretch I thought it would be a good idea to do 20, 30, 30.  Even tho I haven’t been doing 30s.  This turns out to not be a great idea although my shin splints seem to be holding up ok- I am just exhausted after like 23, 24 miles.  I don’t make it to Old Station before the cafe closes so I don’t even bother.  It takes me like 2 hrs to do less than 4 miles.  It’s kinda hot, I’m basically out of water,  I’ve just enough, but I’m also just like molasses.  Then I see two people I hadn’t since the beginning, WIP (work in progress) and this other dude I am totally forgetting his name now, sorry!  You were cool.

I have a little breakdown mid trail and sit down on the middle of the trail like they are.  They are just really chill, no pressure, H’ing their own H.  They are not in a hurry like everyone else is.  I hang out for like 30-40 minutes, heading out soon after they leave.  They’re gonna do like 2 more to Subway cave where you can get water.  I think I can manage that.  I go really slow, I have to sit down and take mini breaks where I sit for like 30 sec-2 minutes every whenever.  I don’t know if the exhaustion is physical as much as mental, it’s just not happening for me today.  Except that it is, apparently.  I finally get to the turnoff for Subway cave, it’s like .4 or more to the water at the parking lot, F that, I think I’m good.  I consider stopping for the night a half mile later but I decide to push on.  There’s an uphill that’s like a mile long and then a viewpoint with a bathroom.  Maybe there’s even water.  Slog it up the hill.

When I get to the viewpoint it’s pretty dope, I am fried tho.  Because I’m at a point of my life with less shame about these things I head over to this dude in a vanagon that I see an AT sticker on and ask if he has any extra water.  He does!  I feel super sheepish about this- this is the first time where I was really low on water.  It wouldn’t be the end of the world- it’s the end of the day so temps are cooler, and there’s water in 6ish miles (though apparently a steep half-mile down into the canyon), but I pride myself on being on point with my water situation.  Maybe all that time off fucked with me more than I thought.  It is exactly what I needed tho to chill with someone who’s simpatico.  I only take a liter which should be good, I’ve a half liter still from before.

I decide to head up a few tenths of a mile more to a picnic area/parking lot/trailhead where I suspect there will be camping.  And there is!  Actually, there’s even a campsite host in an RV.  This young German couple there eyes me warily but then warms up and chats about their Western US road trip, and is pretty into my hike.  They give me two bananas and even more water.  So spoiled today!

And I even hiked 30.  Yay.  Hat Creek Rim tomorrow!


Drakesbad but good

Chinese food and then a lil resupply @ the Holiday market in Chester.  There’s wifi at the church camp and I push through two VGC orders to meet the minimum spend on my SPG card an hour from the cutoff, because obviously I couldn’t have done that during all the time I had off in Quincy.

The next morning I eat the rest of my Chinese for breakfast, grab a new gas canister from down the street, buy a money order with a MCGC from the post office to redeem some manufactured spend, and quickly do a transfer of funds online to activate a banking bonus.  My weirdo money-making this year, sigh.  Finally I get a ride and am on trail around 11am.  The trail is pretty flat which I’m stoked about.  Let’s do this!  Drakesbad is 20 miles and I think I can make it for the 6pm dinner, AND there is supposedly a hot springs.

It’s kinda hot today but I’ll take it.  I don’t have time to take a lot of breaks if I want to get to the Drakesbad ranch in time, I’ll rest there.  It said something about getting there by 5 if you wanted to sign up for dinner.  I get to the bubbling hot spring pool (NOT the one we go in, the evil sulphur 200 degree one), just take a quick peek and push on.  Time is running out, will I make it?  The trail divides at some point for a horse route, what do I do?  I take the regular trail and there is an unexpected tiny hill.  Ugh….I get to the junction around  4:40.  I’m confused, I’ve started on the trail but is it the right one?  It seems to be heading away.  I go back like .2 to the turnoff, no it’s the right one, back track AGAIN.  I arrive right at 5 o’clock and check in.  The guy there is really weird about it, “there might not be food, you should go to the campsite north of here and come back”.  Huh?  Hikers are only allowed to go in the hot springs from 5-7, if I hike up, set up my stuff, come back again, by that time it will be dinner and no time to go in the hot spring if I’m eating.  I tell him that if I hike north I’m not backtracking, I’m trying to get him to let me use the pool now which to my understanding every PCT hiker is allowed to.  I super feel like he is trying to get me out of there which is frankly bullshit since I am more cleaned up in my dress than half the guests there, just sayin’.  Shit, I tell him I’ll even pay to use it.  Finally another worker overhears it and is like, no problem, let me get you a towel.  I don’t understand why they were so weird about it.  If that’s not your rule, just have a different rule.  Don’t tell hikers they have access if you don’t want them to.

On the way to the hot spring, which is really a warm pool, I see 3 other hikers who apparently had no problem checking in and already showered etc.  Strict dude says I can check with him about whether I can eat or not around 6:15-6:30.

The showers are AMAZING as is the towel.  I go in the hot spring pool and it’s perfect for me, not too hot nor cold, I feel like it’s really good for my shin splints that hopefully will not come back to have this today.  There’s some Jewish people speaking Russian and a little Yiddish, another family who is dirtbagging it, staying at the nearby campground for cheap and getting a meal at the resort in order to use the pool with their kids.

I head over to the food and it’s like the previous events never happened.  “Oh, sure you can eat”.  There is a massive, and I mean MASSIVE amount of food.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, salads, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, watermelon, brownies, cookies, coffee, and lemonade.  I don’t even understand why they didn’t think there would be enough or what that dude’s deal was.  I sit down with the other hikers, a couple who is section hiking, and Chipmunk who is from Germany, and has a beer in hand.  This food is really good and a real boost for me.  We head off to the campsite eventually.  Chipmunk has a site already and I ask if I can share it.  I’m sorta not into paying the like $15 fee and he isn’t either, plus we don’t even see where to pay it, so the plan is to get up really early and hike before it starts getting hot, there’s an uphill to start.  If we have to pay, so be it.


Quincy Doldrums

The next day it takes forever for Godongo to get ready.  I’m staying so it’s NBD to me but I can understand how ridiculous it is that they don’t leave until mid-afternoon.  Godongo asks us to do a shakedown for him and I rip into his gear choices.  It’s kinda fun and we’re all good sports about it.  He gets rid of some stuff.  They leave some things for me to mail back to town the next day because it’s Sunday.  Olivia asks me to mail the hoodie with his stuff since he didn’t take it off until right when he left, which is super generous of her and will probably be funny later on.

The next day I walk around town and try to scare up some work since I’ve no idea how long I’ll be off trail.  I get offered 3 jobs!  But then decide to take just one, bc if I’m supposed to be healing I probably shouldn’t be on my feet all day.  I do like 2-3 shifts at the thrift store which is definitely one of the best jobs I’ve ever had- $12 cash an hour (which gets rounded up it seems), a free drink on the coffee run, $10 store credit a day, and a beer at the end of the day from the keg someone left for their store opening.  F’in sweet!

People are really nice here and I can tell they are excited to see a new face in town.  It’s weird to be in a place where it’s easy to find work- I haven’t been able to find a job that wasn’t something set up for me in probably 8 or 9 years (work study when I was in acupuncture school; or my recent cruise ship job that they pretty much take anyone with a pulse and a degree for).  But I don’t know I could live here, it’s too small.  Why does part of me need city life and culture and part of me need the wilderness?  Other hikers out here don’t seem to get it; there’s very few from bigger cities and most of those people seem like they want to get out of cities after a little time on trail.  My take is that if I’m going to be in civilization, I want to be in the smack dab middle of it.  Also I am a huge musical snob and only like my own obscure music.  I’ve been starting to think about moving back to Philly at this point because not playing Balkan music on a regular basis is really starting to be a drag for me.  I need that outlet of expression.

I pick up some lost-looking hikers a couple times and bring them over- Jannes, this super skinny kid from Germany who recently tended bees in New Zealand; another super-cool dude whose name I am forgetting right now but I’m friends with on facebook apparently.

Olivia is just an angel, letting me stay as long as I want.  Hopefully I’m not in the way, it’s a little awkward for me.  After a week or so my leg is feeling better, I’m getting antsy.  Twice they don’t need me at the thrift store.  It’s time to move on.


Yeah, nope…now with trail magic!

So today we are aiming for Quincy, a trail town most people don’t seem to go to but we are real excited about because they have a NATURAL FOODS STORE!!!  OMG.

I decide to get up early and see if I can get a head start since today is basically downhill a lot, up hill a lot, then some flat kinda stuff.  The downhills are usually my jam but my leg has been more and more stabby during them, especially yesterday morning.  Uphill is basically the worst for me always, and even the flats were starting to bother me yesterday.  But today I am feeling good.  I go for like 1-2 miles, then there is this massive tree blocking the trail.  This is not the sort of blowdowns we’ve been facing the last few days every few minutes, this is like one of the biggest trees ever, directly on the trail.  WTF.  How are people even getting around this.  I sketchily climb on this thing and bushwhack although there’s not really anywhere to bushwhack, I’m holding onto roots on the side of a hill.  I get to the other side and there’s no trail.  Whhhhhatttt.

I start trying to head back, I am so confused, the only way seems to start over.  I know the trail must be somewhere below.  There are some really precarious spots and I guess in all I waste a good 20 minutes or more doing this when I hear Gourmet and Godongo.  Gourmet figured out that the blowdown happened basically RIGHT by the switchback, and heads down the trail.  Ughhhh why did I not even look at my map/Guthook.  My brain is off bc Gourmet has been doing all the map reading.  Godongo was confused as well and is up/behind me.  Well, wasted all that time lead.  And also, my leg is really unhappy now.  Time to go down hill!  Every single step feels like a metal bolt is stabbing up from the bottom of my foot through my leg.  I can’t hike if it’s like this all day.  I am just so frustrated.

By the time we go a few more miles and are at the bottom taking a break I lose it, I know I have to rest, I’m crying.  Am I going to have to quit.  I’ll have to take time off in Quincy, I know it.  Otherwise the thru isn’t going to happen at all, shin splints can finish you.  The uphill on the other side isn’t as bad as usual, tho I guess that’s comparing it with how the downhill was which frankly sucked.  Later it mostly flattens out but it is just excruciating.  This isn’t why I’m out here, to push through and injure myself just ’cause.  I don’t need to prove anything.

We get to a road, pass by, and I decide after like .2, .3 I’m done, I can’t do the next 4 miles to the main Quincy road.  I’ll meet them in town.  I mean, we still had hiked like 22 at this point, like 3ish.  I head back and actually manage to get a ride 5 minutes later with a lady whose husband is a PCT section hiker.  The trail provides!

I get to town and it’s a little like a ghost town.  I make some calls to the local hotels- they ask if I’m serious, and laugh at me- as it seems the annual Sierra High Music Festival is that weekend, and hotels were booked out a year ago.  Whoops.

There is no info about trail angels here.

Double whoops.

I walk up the main street and see something about “Suites for Rent” and checking in ’round back at the wine bar.  Okay.  Well, maybe they have some ideas, if not, I prolly need that wine right now.  You know, to go with my whine.

The woman there doesn’t have any availability but actually is super trail-friendly!  She knows of a local trail angel facebook group and puts the word out, and guess what!  Someone can host us that night.  Amaaaaaaazing.  Someone buys me a beer while I wait for Olivia and the others to get into town.

Olivia is an aging hippie who is super against Trumpublicans and not afraid to say it.  She lets us wear her spare hippie clothes and washes our clothes while she to drive us all to the store.  Yes, this woman just let us take her car.  What even.  I have a shirt on that says Alaska and tie-dye pants, Godongo is rockin this madras-print-rainbow-colored hoodie, I forget even what Gourmet has on, but it definitely doesn’t match and is like 4 sizes too big for her.  At Safeway everyone assumes we’re there for the festival because that’s apparently what people there wear.  We buy some extra beer and ice cream for her since it seems like she’s down for that.  Her friend comes over and they barbecue for us.  We all have our own beds to stay in, and I take an epsom salt bath in a clawfoot tub.  Best trail magic ever!!!



Declining feelings


The next day I am feeling pretty good in the AM if a lil nauseous.  Oh well.  Hey- at least I am feeling less crappy about asking everyone to call it, as we hit snow within a half mile of where we stopped.  There would have been nowhere to camp.  Last night was super goofy since deer were going round the camp spooking Gourmet and I (apparently licking up our pee off the snow) and Godongo slept through it, occasionally shouting out some gibberish while sleep-talking.

Well, we know what to do.  There’s a couple sketch sections today and it’s actually weird now recalling it, I didn’t remember it as much but in the moment there were some probably reallllly sketch things that I wasn’t nervous about then, but thinking back I feel like I should have been?  Oh well.  I did it!

Today we met Moonshine Pete on the other side of the mountain, taking a break to drink tea and eat breakfast at a water source in a ravine.  He’s one of the first guys through the Sierras, from Bulgaria, not ultralight- some parts of his gear seem like they were purchased at Kmart, tho he also has a jetboil, and overall just a super chill dude.  He’s doing 32 today.  I can tell by the gleam in her eyes Gourmet thinks this would be really good to aspire to.  Well, we do what we can do.  Which is to say I’m really skeptical about doing 32 today, particularly with some snow still.  He passes us going straight down the mountain across switchbacks, which I sort of would have liked to do, although I think it’s mostly not so safe as what we did.  Eh.  #1 rule of hiking: Don’t die.

We also meet another dude today, Fox, also one of the front-runner Sierra dudes, he is not friendly at all, kinda is like meh- I have to take this call (he actually was on the phone hiking up a steep section).  Ugh.  And looks like a runner with super muscular but thin legs.  Swam rivers in the Sierra NBD.  Looks real judgy at me in my dress.  So many head games on this trail whether intentional or not.  Anyway he passes and I never see him again.

A lot of on/off with the microspikes today.  I like using them and don’t mind to take on/off even if wasting time, because I feel more secure with them.  My shin splints are really starting to act up again and I’m getting a bit irritable in the afternoon heat, for which I didn’t pack enough water apparently (or, just enough).  At some point after lunch Moonshine Pete passes us and we are really confused- apparently he went off trail to a lake.  Time for 32!  Gourmet starts trying to catch up to him.

Today in the afternoon there’s a water source at Alder Creek which is a bit off trail.  I’m debating whether or not to get water – I’m behind the others now and I’m not sure if they’re going there, maybe I could catch up – but there’s really no water for at least 5 miles and I need it.  I realize there’s a sorta spur loop to the trail and finally decide to get there where I find that WP just pushed on, and the others have been waiting.  And oh yeah- there’s a clump of Alders.  Haha.

Around 5 we start trying to discuss where to camp.  Gourmet really wants to keep hiking, I feel bad because I’m slow.  It doesn’t look like there are obvious spots other than right where we are or miles ahead.  There might be something near the top of the little hill, I deduce from some comments, I suggest we eat something and decide with a full stomach.

We stop and eat something and might set up in this sketch section, but I use my gut instinct and look ahead a little.  About 500 feet up I find the tentsite.  Tons of mozzies but plenty of room for 3 tents!  We still did like 26 or 27 miles today (I forget) which was dope for me, tho I think the others wanted to do more.


Sierra butts!


I’m pretty excited about today as it is seeming like *maybe* we are nearing the end of the snow and we are going to a place called Sierra Buttes this am.  Heh heh heh.   I keep this to myself, naturally.  At least that’s what I recall.  I probably didn’t.

The day starts out on the side of a mountain.  There’s a climb and I get behind Gourmet, but not massively so.  It’s a bit windy but not too bad!  Cool section and cool views.  Some deer go straight down a ravine when they hear us coming, I have no idea how they can do that without falling.

We get to Sierra Buttes where there’s quite a few day-use types around, it’s a little confusing with the road crossings, but actually we were right on.  A little bit later we see another hiker coming SOBO- it’s Godongo, who is freaking out a lil.  I wanted to take a break anyway and just sit down.  He is heading back bc he said he is getting frustrated by using the GPS and doesn’t like being alone in the snow.  I invite him to tag along if he’s freaking out and say that the snow is probably close to finishing. I hope Gourmet is ok with this, sorta put her on the spot but I guess we can always separate if it’s not?  Ok, now we have 3 in our team.  This is so crazy to me as I always end up hiking alone.

The snow isn’t super bad tho definitely there are still patches.  Gourmet is still the navigator and Godongo and I try to scout.  It’s easier to see tracks today tho.  There are some super cool sections, we see lakes in the distance and even one in the not-so-distant-distance!  Flowers of many colors!  Cool rocks ‘n’ stuff!  And O.M.F.G.- deciduous trees, even.  I am freaking out.  We get to A-Tree Spring around 5.  It seems too early to stop.  What to do.  We eat.  Push on a bit more, Gourmet in particular wants to, but when we get to this bend in the trail and I look to the side and see snow all up the side of the hill and there’s a sorta unmarked dirt road next to the trail that would make a good campsite I ask if we can stop.  I’m kinda digsausted, also I feel like my shin-splinty thing is starting to act up.  It’s been a little stiff-sore since we started back up but today there have been times with stabathon.  Ugh.  Well hopefully a bit of snow to ice it and not going until really late will help.