July 10, 2017: Hiked Miles 1195.4 to 1213.5 (18.1 total)
The alarm was set for 6:00 so of course I woke up at 5:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep until about 5:59. Never fails. My throat hurt when I got up and I was not feeling like my normal, chipper self. The last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed and sit in a car for a few hours, but we had to get back on the trail at some point and I knew once we started hiking, I would feel better. Hiking makes everything better.
My mom had offered to take us back to the trailhead, but she also agreed to stitch up a couple holes in my puffy jacket. So I drove while her and her boyfriend mended my jacket and Colton slept and navigated. No, I’m not sure how you do those two things at the same time, but somehow he managed to.
I couldn’t stop yawning for the first half of the drive, but we stopped in Susanville for some food, which helped me wake up. Breakfast burritos and donuts could probably solve most of the world’s problems.
The drive went fairly quickly and we got back on the trail around 11:00. My mom and Greg hiked in a little ways with us before heading back to the car.
It felt so good to be back on the trail. After not hiking for six days, I was a little bit nervous that we were going to die starting up again, but I couldn’t have felt better. I was full of energy, my legs felt strong, and I just felt good and like I was picking up even better than I left off. Colton didn’t seem to share my same enthusiasm and was having a little bit harder of a time getting back into the groove of things. I’m pretty sure running and working out almost every day we were off is what saved my legs. And running in the Redding heat probably made hiking in the milder weather today seem even easier. Even though my legs feel sore from using different muscle groups when I was home, they feel stronger than ever and I’m really glad I took the time to workout.
We also left our bear canisters, ice axes, sleeping bag liners, and microspikes at home which decreased our pack weight significantly. We are hoping that the snow has melted enough that we won’t need our spikes anymore… we will see!
It was so nice to hike on an actual trail and not on the snow. We were able to move so much quicker, even with a big climb and started knocking out the miles pretty quickly. We crested out of the trees and hiked along a gorgeous ridgetop for awhile.
Colton proceeded to stuff his face in about two minutes.
And some nice day hiker offered us almond butter sandwiches. I always say never turn down free food, but after being off the trail for almost a week and eating so much food, I could barely eat the lunch I packed so I kindly thanked her, but couldn’t eat another bite.
The trail followed a road for a bit.
Here’s a look back at the north end of the Buttes.
And we passed at least ten gorgeous lakes from up above.
We hiked until about 6:45 since we had got a late start this morning, but still managed to hike 18 miles in about six hours of hiking. I think this is the first time we have been able to continuously hike 3 mph since before we started the Sierras. Another reason it’s so nice to be out of the snow!
We set up camp next to two others hikers and caught up on each other’s experiences in the Sierras and compared notes on hikers we all knew and where they were at on the trail. Luckily it didn’t take long for our trail appetites to come back and we were starving by the time we finished setting up camp. We cooked Mountain House meals for dinner. I tried the chili mac for the first time. Not my favorite, but not the worst and Colton scarfed down his lasagna that he loves. We finished dinner with some fancy hot cocoa and yummy marshmallows that Janet sent us.
Then crawled in our tent to relax and let our legs rest. I can already tell that we are going to be sore tomorrow so we stretched as much as possible. We also got to wear our new shoes for the first time today that Blair sent us so our feet will probably be a little tender while we work in the new shoes.
But what a difference they made. I felt like I was walking on clouds most of the day, having shoes with tread and cushion left in them and when we did have to walk on snow, we weren’t slipping with every step. Thanks again, Blair! Lifesaver!
I thought it would be hard to readjust to trail life and early bedtimes after being off for almost a week and going to bed later than normal, but it’s 9:20 and Colton is zonked out and I am definitely getting sleepy. It feels great to be back. I truly feel like the trail is home for me now and I’m so excited to see the rest of the state and remember what the trail looks like when it’s not covered in snow!