July 3, 2017
1168.49 – 1187.05
Today was split pretty much in half in terms of being awesome and shitty. We woke up in the morning and began trekking across the snow, and within 20 minutes stumbled across trail magic! In the snow! In the middle of nowhere! There was just a pile of beers and chips chilling on the snow. It was amazing. These little moments are what make the trail so special. Sitting in a tree well, surrounded by snow, in the middle of nowhere, at quarter to seven in the morning, drinking beer left there for me by a complete stranger out of the kindness of their heart. What the hell.
After indulging in the trail magic, we almost immediately took a wrong turn and ended up way off trail, causing us to have to climb straight up a steep hill to find it again. The trail was pretty snowy for a while, but eventually got better and better, and soon we were climbing up completely dry trail. We had a pretty big climb up to the top of the ridge, but on the dry trail it felt amazing. The trail wound through endless fields of yellow mules ear flowers rustling in the breeze. After we got to the top, we walked along the ridge for a while, and the views were incredible. Northern California is absolutely beautiful. There were lakes, rolling green hills, jagged snowy mountains, and outcrops of volcanic rock. It was such a good morning.
We ran into a section hiker going southbound and he informed us that there was no more snow until after Sierra City, which got us all super excited. We wound down into the forest on dry trail, and made it ten miles to Mule Ears Creek for lunch. Making ten miles or more before lunch used to be an everyday occurrence, but since we hit the snow we’ve struggled to make over ten miles a day, so this was very exciting.
After lunch, the day took a turn for the worse (at least for me). The trail itself was awesome, dry and descending further into a beautiful coniferous forest. I just felt like shit. I’m not sure if it was the heat, or dehydration, or a bad reaction to the DEET I coated myself in at lunch, or a combination of factors, but I did not feel good at all. I spent the afternoon feeling like I was on the verge of losing my lunch and/or passing out. I stopped for a long break where the trail met a road and drank a ton of water, but it didn’t seem to help much.
From there, our planned camp spot was only a few miles away, so I decided to just soldier on and get to camp. Everything felt like an epic struggle. My eyes couldn’t seem to focus and my fingers fumbled to complete the simplest tasks. And I was just exhausted. It felt like I had been drugged, which is why I’m leaning towards poisoning by DEET as the most likely cause. Finally, we made it to camp and got set up. Cougar and Dr. McDirty gave me tea and some medication to help my stomach, and it started feeling well enough that I was able to get down a tortilla for dinner. After eating, I crawled into the tent and immediately passed out. Definitely excited for a bed and a shower in town tomorrow.