Trough creek – Gold creek
23.7 miles.
7659ft up. 5488ft down.

I was asleep quickly. Probably before 9. So tired from the previous two nights. But I was awake at 3 so I read my book for an hour and eventually went back to sleep, which made it much harder to get up when my alarm went off at 6.

I snoozed it for half an hour, packed up my stuff and set off. I have started drinking a carnation breakfast in the morning. It’s a chocolate powder that you should add to a glass of milk but I mix it with water and it’s passable. It forces me to drink liquid in the mornings. It’s doing a good job so far.

It’s quite a boring day. We are just in the trees for the majority of it. There is quite a bit of bear poo around but none of it seems that fresh. I hears few rustles in the bushes which cause me to turn off the audiobook I’m listening to sometimes.

I meet a northbound section hiker who says she hasn’t seen many other nobos so she stopped to chat for ages. My first goal of the day was to make it the 11 miles to the McCloud river, because there is a camp ground there with a pit toilet and I needed to go, you know? The trail was cold this morning, I had my gloves on for a couple of hours and my vest on all the way to the river. So different to when I was here last year when it was about 95°. It’s much more pleasant in the cooler weather and considering the amount of uphill there was today the cooler weather was welcome. It was a bit overgrown in places and the bushes are scratchy and taller than me so there was a lot of bush in face this morning.

I eat a cliff bar and take a proper look at it, it looks pretty similar to how it’s going to look when it comes out the other end.

I found an acorn. That’s about as exciting as it got today!

I reached the river, crossed the bridge and headed straight for the pit toilet. A particularly gross one with mouse droppings everywhere, and you could hear the mice in the walls or in the ceiling wherever they were. But as it wasn’t too hot it wasn’t too smelly which was good so I could get done what I needed to do.

I filled up my water at the river and sat and ate some goldfish. I reckon Catwater has stopped by the bridge for a break. I waited until she appears and she said ‘I was sat by the bridge’. I knew she was. We carried on. The real uphill begins now. 10 miles of it. I plug myself into my audiobook and wind my way up through the trees. I see two northbound thru-hikers. It looks like Sparkles wasn’t the last northbounder after all. Maybe it’s these two. The guy introduced himself as ‘Giver’ and he told me his girlfriend ‘Taker’ was just behind him. Well that turned my stomach. What awful trail names!

8 miles on I make it to Deer Creek and decide to have a rest, eat some more goldfish and wait for Catwater. We are supposed to be doing another 10 miles today but I’m really not feeling it. It’s 2:30 now so it is doable, but I re-look at the mileage and the elevation and come up with a different plan which involves us only having to do 5.5 more miles today. Catwater arrives about half an hour later and I run the plan past her. She is happy and we stay another half hour chatting. An hour break in the day, now that’s a luxury I haven’t had for a long time!

We carry on with our climb, through the trees and the scratchy bush, and eventually pop out at the top and get a little view. Still quite smokey today (the Gap fire is now at 26 thousand acres, 30% contained and 2,000 firefighters working on it). I see a giant bear poo on the trail. It’s either from a giant bear or it could be a normal size bear with a problem.

We made it to the side trail to the spring and when we looked at the water sources coming up it looks like we might have an 28 mile dry stretch. Catwater and I left our packs on the dirt road and went to collect water. At first it looked like there were just some stagnant pools but on closer inspection it was flowing and was clear and cold.

We loaded up and then set up our tents on the edge of the dirt road. Not the best spot I have ever had, I’m on a bit of a slope, but it will do! It’s chilly up here tonight and we retreat to our tents early. I have a mountain house meal and I finish it but it’s a struggle. My stomach has definitely shrunk. The zip bit on the tip of the bag had come unglued so I had to improvise. At least I found a use for the pot stand I have been carrying for over 1000 miles without using!

I hear a crash in the trees and it was just a deer, later when I get out my ten to clean my teeth the deer is licking the ground exactly where I had a wee earlier. Deer are gross. I get fairly close to her and leave her another wee. She watches me the whole time which is weird. I shut the doors of my tent tonight for the first time in a while in a bid to keep out the wind.

Around 8:30 I hear some voices, I think it’s Crusher and Spice Rack walking down the trail.


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