Day 102 – big miles

The boys set off about half an hour earlier than I did. 32 miles to Seiad valley. That was my goal. I would just keep walking and see how far I got. I felt like pushing myself. I felt strong. We were up at 5700ft. Etna was at 2800ft. The elevation really made a difference to the temperature. It’s cold up here! 
 

There were a couple of climbs over the first 7 miles. Unlike yesterday when I felt like I was just floating up today I felt like I was going to die. It probably didn’t help that I was most likely dehydrated and malnourished and tired from yesterday! Breathing was difficult and I found myself stopping a lot more often just to catch my breath.  

  
    

I came across a trail maintenance group, a young group this time. I was too out of breath to stop and speak properly, but one of them told me there are installing an escalator to make it easier. 

    

After 7 miles of up and down, it was all downhill. I had gone a bit slower than I would have liked this morning but here was my chance to make it up. It was easy walking. The path was cushioned with pine needles, rock and stick free. It was plain sailing until about 12pm when it got hot. Really hot. Even the wind was hot. I carried on, taking it a bit slower, careful not to get dehydrated and feel weird. 

    

My work friends made me a tshirt before I left which says ‘watch out’ on the front and ‘bear behind’ on the back. So I sent them a photo of me wearing it…

 
There was a huge log to cross as loads of bridges had broken from a fire. It was really wobbly. 

 
25 miles got me to the start of a 7 mile road walk into Seiad Valley. The first half was dirt road which was ok until two big lorries came by and covered me in dust. Then you join the highway. Not a great road walk as there is no shoulder. Cars come by fast and close. Luckily there weren’t too many cars. 

    

Seiad Valley is a really odd place. The houses are large and they all have boats, cars and RVs outside – but all of these things look like they have been there for years. The boats are covered in leaves, the cars have no wheels and are on bricks and the RVs haven’t moved anywhere for years. An apparently no one wants a monument…
 
I got to the campground at 6:30pm. 32 miles in 12 hours. Not bad. I went straight to the store for and ice cream and a soda. For $15 you get to stay the night at the RV park, plus a shower with soap and a towel, the chance to do some laundry and wifi. So I washed my stinky body and stinky clothes. Then I got these revolting frozen things from the store. I ate them because they had lots of calories and I was hungry! 

 
I feel surprisingly good. Yes my legs and feet are throbbing but they are ok. I’m camped with a few others – Steady, Gene, Mr Clean (from Ukraine), Bonus Miles and some others. A nice safe camp site! 

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