Total distance: 436.1
Camp tonight is on a picnic table in the North Fork Ranger Station. I’m in super lazy mode tonight and only going to get my bag out to sleep on a table. No way I’m blowing up a pad or laying a ground sheet and for sure not setting up a damn tarp. I’m BEAT!!! Presently I have my feet up in the air to help them heal and looking down a valley while the colors change with the sunset. It’s a pretty perfect spot to end a gnarly day.
I woke up late this morning and didn’t get started hiking until 7, but figured I’d still try and beat the sunset 35 miles away. My legs were taking forever to wake up and were being little divas until finally they got the memo and turned on. The trail was subtle at first and winded down the valley I was in until I reached the end only to go right back up to 6,000 feet.
I had the worst song stuck in my head all day and honestly started getting frustrated that I couldn’t get rid of it. Wanna Talk About Me, by Alan Jackson? The worst. I wonder why it was that song. What the hell?
Around noon I got to a fire station and found 7 other hikers pressed up against each other to hide from the sun. It was an incredible sight and I’ve been beating myself up since for not taking a picture. I ended up hanging around for a while and drank a ton of water and had a banana that a trail angel came to drop off. Magic! I applied way too much sunscreen on and took off around 1:30. The sun was blazing hot and the uphill I had was on soft sand that pulled me backwards with every step. Not only that, but there was poodle dog bush everywhere! There was even a section closed off for 7 miles, but I had a child like moment where you tell them not to do something and that makes them want to do it all the more. So I did the poodle trail. Part of me feels like I have to experience it. Like am I even a real thru hiker if I don’t? I feel invalidated. We’ll see if today did the trick. The burn zone where the poodle grew was so vast and the trees stood like skeletons frozen in the valley below. It was a sad sight, but cool to experience.
The last 17 miles were easy going and I hardly drank any water until 5 miles left where I sat on a rock and enjoyed the haze from the fog blanketing the base of all the surrounding peaks. I slammed some chili with beans and farted down the mountain. I felt so good the last three miles I was prancing past poodle bush and skipping over poison oak. I just didn’t give a damn. The wild flowers were going off and I felt like I was in a fairytale. I had a smile on for at least twenty minutes and then chuckled at myself for being such a fruit cake, but I love it regardless. It feels so good to finish a 35 mile day early enough to watch the sunset and be laying down to watch the stars start to shine.
- Poodle dog bush
- Snow flower
Thought of the day:
Take that ya damn plant.