Day 94 – near greenleaf creek to dirt road
July 23 | NOBO Miles 2152.8-2172.9
I woke briefly at 3:30 this morning to a light sprinkle of rain that turned into more of a drizzle, but luckily not before I had the chance to throw my tent fly on and hop back inside.
I “slept in” until 6:45 and sipped some cold coffee and ate a few figs for breakfast while I played some morning jams. Once I was bored of that I got a move on, and up a large hill I went.
While the mid-60s temps were lovely, the 82% humidity was relentless. Just 10 minutes into the day I was already so sweaty that my eyes stung and my shirt was soaked. Speaking of which, REI, I am skeptical this is “wicking fabric.” Thoughts of returning to my old sun-bleached black shirt with the giant hole in the back seriously tempted me.
Aside from my fashion issues, the climb itself was fine, just tedious and muggy. 3000 feet of gain up from near sea level over just a few miles was enough to wake up the old hiking muscles. I have decided that the next two months and 900 miles are officially Butt Busting Bootcamp because there is nothing like climbing in Washington and the Sierra Nevada to whip one’s booty into shape. Saving the steepest (and prettiest!) sections for last means I will finish with glutes of steel..
Anyways, today’s entertainment du jour came in the form of a wild berry jamboree. Huckleberries, raspberries, and even some funny yellow blackberries lounged across the trail, begging to be picked. They were all delicious. I restrained myself and went only for the ripest ones, but there had to have been millions of berries ready to eat. It was criminal that I had no access to a pie crust. Some of the berries I wasn’t familiar with, but I did this test where I ate one of each kind then waited 30 minutes and when I didn’t feel poisoned I figured they were safe to consume.
My hands were so purple by the end of this that they looked like I had strangled Barney the dinosaur.
The miles came quietly today and before I knew it I was at Rock Creek for lunch, where I finished my last fresh salad-to-go while I read for an hour and a half. Plenty of SOBOs passed by but there were literally no NOBOs to be found, except for some people who had just gotten on trail to hike the Washington section and seemed so intimidated to be out here that they came to collect water from the creek at the exact spot I was sitting, even though there was a visibly easier access point 20 feet down trail, a stone’s throw away. It took me back to my day 1 out from Campo, when I scrambled to collect water for the first time from a stream maybe 4 miles in, as 5 other people fumbled to do the same. Ah, to be new in the backcountry... I don’t miss it.
The rest of the day passed without event and I somehow made it 20 miles across a bunch of winding and heavily forested switchbacks without really paying attention, but that was all the effort I had in me today. Laying in my tent right now, I’m finally cold and dry for the first time since 7:30 this morning, thinking of how some people choose to do the “no wash” Washington challenge and how that might actually drive me insane if I tried it myself.