My alarm went off at 2:15am. I felt somewhat rested but the warm temperatures overnight had made it hard to get comfortable. I hit snooze and rolled over, only to hear rustling outside my tent. One of the guys must be awake so I start packing up diligently, ready to go by 3am. Jailbreak’s alarm didn’t go off so we wait a few extra minutes for him, all trying to be quiet so as not to wake the other hikers in our tent site.
Once we got moving, the miles flew by. Everyone felt pretty good, the trail was smooth and obvious, and it was relatively cool. I followed in back with no headlamp, trying to use all my senses to take in this portion of trail since I wouldn’t be able to see the views. The stars were faint, muted by the nearby city lights that glittered in the distance, and the moon had already set. The smells from the many wildflowers flooded my senses and my feet were in tune with every tilt and groove of the trail. We paused when we found a dead rattlesnake in the middle of the path, taking a moment to admire its beauty and to move it off the trail. Mostly we just moved, gliding quietly along as the miles ticked by in the dark.
As the sun rose, the hills became visible, drenched in the colors of dawn. We came upon a few small caves right on the trail and explored as any curious child would do.
We pushed on, going only as quickly as Jailbreak’s still-hurting knee and blisters would allow. We had to go off-trail to get water at an old campground that was no longer maintained. It was a good ways off the main trail and Bandaid’s knee started to act up as well. We got down to the campground and sprawled out at a less-than-pristine picnic table. Dad Jokes, Siren and Pep Talks eventually joined us and we all had lunch and relaxed through the heat of the day.
When it was time to get back on the trail, Jailbreak’s feet were still in terrible shape and causing a lot of pain. Bandaid and I made an executive decision to just stay at this crumbling campground and head out in the morning. Pep Talks, Siren and Dad Jokes moved on as we puttered around looking for a decent spot to make camp. There were red mites (which we called “blood spiders”), ants, mosquitoes and biting flies pretty much everywhere but we found a somewhat remote campsite away from the main path.
Hopefully by morning everyone will feel strong again and we won’t have been sucked dry by mosquitoes. My anxiety about having enough time to get to Canada before the winter storms begin is aggravated by days like today, but I know that even if we were going faster, we might still get shut out of the Sierras by the late snow there. I am working on being present and enjoying every moment that I am out here although it can be difficult sometimes.
Hiked with: Bandaid, Jailbreak
Camped with: Bandaid, Jailbreak