Day 72, July 5th
Start: camp at mile 1,510
End: lower deadfall lake, mile 1,542
Miles hiked: 32

I wake up late, cook oat meal and pack up my stuff. Carrot still isn’t feeling well, so she wants to take it slow and hike with those that are starting from the highway later in the morning. So I hike on, leaving camp around 7.

The trail meanders up and down through a pine forest until beginning a 3,000 foot ascent at the base of the castle crags. The sunlight illuminates the granite spires above me, and I stop in awe as I see them above. The next 5 miles i climb, and the views only get better as I head up. I take my time, taking lots of pictures.

Soon there are views of Shasta in the distance behind the green mountains I’m traversing. How can it be this good? Green mountains, granite spires, a giant snow capped mountain, and a peaceful trail all to myself. The world is mine on this day.

I take a selfie of my new look to show my friends, call my uncle Ron and aunt Frances, and sit for a while enjoying the views. Once I continue on, well done with the climb, my body starts crashing. I sit down and eat everything I can (mostly junk food) and end up falling asleep in the grass. I wake up groggy and look at my watch. I’ve slept for an hour and a half! Wow, must have needed that. Two days in a row with naps. I like this trend.

My stomach hurts in the afternoon. I shouldn’t have had a lunch that consisted of bananas, Nutella, nilla wafers, air heads, and starbursts. But I still panic a bit. Am I getting what everyone else has? I sure hope not.

I pass by a section hiker in the afternoon, Allen. First hiker I’ve seen all day. I was hoping I may hike a whole day on my own, but he’s nice and fun to talk to, so I guess a day completely by myself will come another time.

I pass a group of three, an older married couple and their daughter, probably 40. They’re super nice. The guy is a CPA as well, so we nerd out on some accounting talk. Allowance for doubtful accounts, IPO’s, fixed asset impairment, fair value measurement, PCAOB standards and codification. I get so pumped up.

Ok, that was maybe a bit of an exaggeration. He finds it hard to believe I work for Deloitte with how I look. They think it’s great. Believe it or not, this talk makes me miss work. By no means am I wishing I wasn’t here, but I do enjoy my job, and there are a lot of aspects of it I miss while I’m out here.

I cruise on the tops of high ridges the rest of the evening. I get texts from the group. Carrot is with Mac and not a chance, camping at porcupine lake. That’s 28 miles for her, while sick! That girl is nuts. Guthrie and sheriff hitched a forest service road to the trail up ahead of us, and they’re camping at deadfall lake. I’ll meet them there.

As I arrive there’s a mass of campers. Families galore. Most campers I’ve seen on the pct this whole time! Guthrie and sheriff have a nice spot at the lower lake to themselves. It’s great to see them. Sheriff and I recount our favorite epic rap battles, as well as our favorite lines from step brothers. We laugh hard. Guthrie loves if.

Sounds like they want to start slowing down a bit. Sounds like most everyone in my group has that mindset, except for me. I want to go! I feel good and want to spend more time out on the trail, and less in town.

I plan to average over 30 a day to seiad valley. See how I feel then, after likely hiking alone and far each day. I may love it. I really enjoyed it today. One of my best days on the trail. And one of the most beautiful as well. I love the ridge walks. After pushing hard for 5 days on my own, I’ll likely know if I want to keep hiking that way or not. I’m at least going to try it. Just figuring things out, 1,550 miles into the trail.

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Castle crags in the morning light

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Going up! Castle crags again

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More beauty

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Much beard. So hair.

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Sunset at lower deadfall lake

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Yeah, I think I’ll pass.

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More castle crags and such.

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Beautiful day!