Mile 1328.8-1347.8 (19.0)
By the time I’m back on trail, I am already regretting the food I didn’t eat. Ice cream, mostly. Cold, sugary foods. Shit, I think, how many miles to the next town? How long can I sit with these cravings?
Instead of motivating me to hike faster, as sometimes happens, I hiked slowly, dragging myself up the hills. I wondered how much was psychological (how hard it can be to leave the convenience of town) versus physical (how hard it can be for my body to recover from incessant activity). Does it matter if the end result is the same? I covered 9 miles in 4 hours. Not challenging terrain. Slightly hot. Bugs only an annoyance. No good excuse for my slowness.
I took an hour-long lunch break at the North Fork of the Feather River. I drank lots of water and took a bird bath, cooled down. I ate lots of food. I reasoned with myself that I didn’t need to push, didn’t need to make miles today. That I could take it easy and still get to Burney in 3 days.
Despite my morning reluctance, now would be a good time to hike steadily and put in the hours. Pat is leaving Massachusetts today with a trailer full of our stuff. He should be in Oregon at the end of next week. I hope to take a train from Dunsmuir early Friday morning and spend next weekend with him. It will have been nearly a month since he dropped me off at the trailhead in Mammoth Lakes.
So I have motivation to hike. I just seemed to lack the ability this morning. The afternoon was better. Fed and hydrated, I tackled the small climb steadily. Soon I gained speed in an attempt to outrun the hordes of mosquitos in these forests. I called it at a busy drive-in campground in Lassen National Park. I’m sharing the site with Oats and Strider, two British hikers who have also gone northbound through the Sierra. There aren’t too many of us out here.