The Long Days

Day 53

Mileage: 38.8
Total distance: 1585.9

I recently bought my plane ticket home and have it scheduled the day before my original goal. I’ve been pushing hard recently to get back on and a little ahead of schedule and days like today should have been expected in process. 

Honestly, most of the day was normal in that I woke up on my own at 6:20 and moved at my usual pace. I felt tired like I normally do in the mornings and after ten miles of winding the ridges and going in and out of sun exposure I came to a road and took my first break. The fog of weariness had lifted and I got up quickly after sitting to continue on. 

I’ve been in the trinity alps wilderness and in a section called Kalmoth, which is filled with pines and contains some of the most diverse pockets of conifers in the tiniest square mile section. This wilderness is absolutely beautiful. The mountains are full of character in their rocky and jagged peaks and the little ponds or lakes at the bottom just put the cherry on top, or I guess the bottom. I came over a ridge and saw off in the distance what I found out were the alps, but thought I was going that direction and was excited for the beauty, but also discouraged by their magnitude and snow covered tops. Thankfully I’ll brush by them and admire from a distance. 

I paralleled a range to the west that was smothered in granite and gave the mountain a grey color all throughout while the trees added contrast as they scattered the bluffs. I ran next to this range most of the day and was blown away by how different the land looked only ten miles away with my range being red and brown while the other was grey. 

Around 3 I started feeling my body getting slower and my shin start to flare up again so I slowed my pace and kept moving. I passed a man named Mike who was doing trail maintenance with a few other who were back at camp and named themselves “Lions Pride” after a man named James Lion who used to live in the area and was a nature fanatic. Mike wore a stained green shirt, tucked into bleached blue jeans that were held up by a weathered brown leather belt. He had a white goatee and glasses and kept a safari hat on his head. We got to talking and I came to find that he used to teach science at the junior high level and taught me how to tell the red firs from the whites. He also told me about Kalmoth and the insane diversity the area contains because of the hemlock and firs to the north along with the ponderosa from the south and the fox tail pines from the east all meshing in this one area as they expand to their most comfortable environments. There is an area that is one square mile that contains 17 different species of conifers. 

After I left Mike my stomach started to turn and that voice came back in my ears that whispered, “you dumbass, you haven’t drank any water”. I suppose I had been to occupied with the views to remember to drink once again and after getting to my last break of the day I took my horrible wet poop and sat for a long time waiting for my stomach to calm down. I took an electrolyte pill and drank some water slowly as I ate my rehydrated taco meat. So good. 

I had 7 more miles to do and they would be brutal. I moved slowly and hoped to find a spot to sleep by 8, but kept along a ridge that didn’t allow for setting up a bug net. I walked along a cliff and had incredible views of the alps and my opposing range, but my stomach would dominate my mind and not before long it was 8:45. I was not in the mood to be hiking or finding a sketchy spot to sleep, but I finally found a somewhat flat area and moved rocks and sticks around to make a small place to sleep. 

My stomach is feeling better, but my body is beyond tired. My shin goes in and out of pain and in two days I’ll be resting it up before hitting Oregon. California blew my mind today and I’ll fall asleep thinking about all that I saw as I shift around trying to find the most comfortable way to sleep on a slant in hopes I don’t slide down this hill. 

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