Day 83, July 16
Start: big spring, mile 1,762
End: Christi spring, mile 1,792
Miles hiked: 30
Worst night of sleep ever. I started cowboy camping next to not a chance. Seemed like a good idea as there were no bugs when we went to bed. But soon the ants descended upon us in the masses. Crawling all over my body under the quilt. Not biting, but still keeping me awake. I don’t mind ants when they don’t bite, but trying to sleep with them crawling all over your body is tough. I got in my bug netting, and so does not a chance. But this helps nothing. They’re everywhere under here, and the netting is just draped over me, not actually put up. I rustle all night, throwing ants off of me. Not a chance is as well, as I can hear her doing the same thing. In the morning she looks at me, “you sleep at all last night?” She asks.
“Pry three hours. You?”
“Maybe two. I heard you up all night as well.” She responds.
We plan 30 miles today to Christi springs. Thirty miles? Sweet, that’s an easy day, I can relax! It’ll be easy.
I head out on my own, everyone is out before me. The trail climbs gently on a mountain slope and enters a beautiful forest, full of firs, spruce, and incense. The ground is soft. With every step dust kicks up in the air and into my legs. I’me sweaty as the sun hits, and the dirt sticks to my legs. A permanent layer of silt on my legs. I am a man of the woods. A man of the mountains. But my feet hurt, so really I just feel like a wimp. A giant baby. Or more a 5’8″ 135 pound baby. With a beard. And a Mohawk.
As I reach dead Indian memorial highway (yeah, really), I see an empty 2 liter of root beer and empty gallon of ice cream. Could it be? I look left and see copper tones get up! Say whaaaat? Haven’t seen him since Tehachapi, some 1,100 miles back. Not a chance, Sochi, 10k, and JrSr are all there. I sit down and copper tone offers a root beer float. Hell yes! He’s been a few hundred miles behind us with ‘the herd’ as he refers to them.
“I needed to catch up with my friends!” He says to us.
I love that guy. He talks of all the mountains he climbed in the sierras, and even asks how meeting up with my sister, Monica, went. He was the guy who helped me plan the logistics of that. We talk for a good hour before heading on.
Soon we all reach a cabin in the woods with a water pump. Another hour looking at the register and shooting the shit. Woody catches up to us! He tells us he caught a rattle snake. His pictures are amazing! Sheriff woody never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge of plants and wildlife, and his no fear attitude to pick anything up.
We all hike out together, traversing large lava fields with amazing views of mount mcloughlin. It gets unreasonably hot. Fitting for walking over lava. Guthrie and carrot are only an hour or so behind, so I wait for them at water. Another 2 hour break, and carrot and I leave to hike the final 12 miles to Christi spring. It’s uphill through a spooky forest. There’s no light shining through, and no green on the ground. Just black dirt with dead twigs and branches. It’s eery walking through.
We hit the mcloughlin trail, and it greets us with eleventy billion Mosquitos. Literally everywhere! It’s all I can do to put on my bug coat, head net, and soak my legs in greasy deet. They buzz all around me. A large grey cloud surrounds me as I hike on. But none of them can get to me. For some reason, it’s extremely satisfying seeing them everywhere, knowing they’re miserable, trying to get my blood, knowing there is no way. Idiots.
I reach Christi spring with tired feet. I almost let them win before I muster up the last strength in my body to put my tarp and bug net up, and fill up water from the springs.
I’m not sure why I’m so tired. It was only 30 miles, and I was sitting for four hours between those miles. Maybe next time we do a 30 I’ll just crush so I can get to camp early and maybe not feel so tired. Those damn ants last night, just crawling all over me and keeping me up.