August 1, 2017
Mile 1612.6 – Mile 1639.16
Woke up this morning and of course, started the day off with a really steep climb. The climbs these last few days have been really, really hard. It’s like the trail designers got to this point and said “Fuck it, we’re going straight up this shit”. They’ve just been long and steep and deadly. We finally got to the top of the first climb, and wound down to a creek where we stopped for lunch, and then immediately started climbing again. It was just a crazy, exhausting day. It’s been insanely hot recently, and rumour has it that it’s going to be 110 degrees in Seiad Valley tomorrow (which, of course, is where we’re going to be tomorrow). We had to cross a few small snow patches today, and on the very last one of the day, I slipped and fell and slid for a few feet, scraping and bruising my left butt cheek.
Just as we got to the top of the final climb, and we were entering the forest, I heard something crashing through the woods to my right, and turned and saw a small, black bear running through the greenery. It ran across the trail in front of me and continued down the slope. After our two bear sightings on this trail, any worries I had about bears have pretty much completely dissipated. Any time anyone sees one, they’re pretty much always fleeing in terror from the weird naked bipedal creature coming down the trail.
We stopped at a spring for a while, stopped for dinner before camp, and before long it was starting to get dark. The crimson light of sunset shone through the burnt shells of trees, and soon it was pitch black. Traipsing through the Northern California woods in the middle of the night was kind of surreal, our lamps casting odd shadows as we moved our heads. A fat toad hopped out of the trail ahead of me to escape the light. We reached a creek and hopped across the rocks in the dark, my right foot slipping and plunging into the icy cold water. Soon, we found our campsite and pitched our tent. We’re camped with Rocket Man and Scrappy, although they were both fast asleep by the time we arrived. I washed the dirt from my legs and the salt from my face in the rushing water of the creek by the light of my headlamp, before crawling into my sleeping bag, utterly exhausted.