Sierra City – tent site 
20.5 miles + 1.5 mile road walk.
5334ft up. 2138ft down.

I was in a bed but I didn’t sleep particularly well. I was too hot. My heels hurt. My brain was wired. But I was too lazy to do anything about anything. So I tossed and turned and woke up several times, my alarm went off at 6 and I just turned it off.

After all those days from Trout Lake when I cut off the strap of one of my poles, I saw some scissors on the side and finally cut off the other strap.

I was hungry and breakfast didn’t start until 7:30 and I was hoping we were going to get something to eat before hiking out. I decided I would get up when Catwater did, so we ended up getting up around 7. She asked me what I wanted to do ‘do you want to get breakfast or do you want to just get hiking?’. In my head I was screaming ‘I’m starving, I really want to get breakfast!’ But what came out of my mouth was ‘I don’t mind, what do you want to do?’

Ugh. What’s happened to me? I am much more capable of making a decision than this! I need to be careful that I’m not marching to someone else’s tune again. But luckily for me Catwater wanted to get breakfast before hiking out so we made our way over to the Red Moose Cafe, walking out of the lady’s house and leaving it unlocked just as we had found it.

As you know by now breakfast is not my favourite meal of the day, but as American breakfasts go this one was pretty good. An egg scramble with bacon, bell peppers (why bell peppers? We just call them peppers in England) and mushrooms, topped with melted cheese (you can pretty much make anything taste good if you cover it in cheese) potatoes and an English muffin. I ate every single bit. The owners / workers in the cafe were really nice and we were chatting to them about this season of hikers. They share the opinion of a few other towns – that there have been less hikers this year than last.

We can’t put it off anymore and it’s time to leave. We don’t even bother trying to hitch. We just make the 1.5 mile, all uphill walk back to the trail. I was hoping someone might stop and offer us a ride but no one did. At least we were in the shade, but even so I was really hot by the time we reached the trailhead.

Only half a mile in the trail goes across a bridge with one of the best looking swimming holes on the whole trail. Of course I don’t have the time of inclination to try it out. The trail starts to climb straight away, the shade of the trees is nice but there are hundreds of those little floaty eyeball gnats around so the head net went on pretty quickly, a small attempt to try and save my sanity.

I was feeling pretty rubbish. I enjoyed feeling full but I also felt uncomfortable. All the blood had gone to my stomach to process the big meal and I was left feeling very tired. It took all my will power to not just lie down on the side of the trail and have a nap.

We were aiming for 20 miles today as we didn’t get started until 9am, so I decided to break my day down into sets of 5 miles. After the first 5 I was feeling hot and sweaty so sat down by a creek to have a snack and take my head net off for a bit. As the sun streamed through the trees I could see hundreds of the eyeball gnats just floating about. And they really do get in your eyeballs, and if you sniff they go up your nose and if you breathe through your mouth they end up in there too. Really annoying!

Eventually the trail climbs high enough so we start to get out of the trees and I can finally take of my head net. It’s really surprising how a tiny bit of net can make you so hot! The trail is so beautiful today and the way the sunlight streams through the trees and illuminates the colours, the reds and the yellows of the bushes, it sometimes just stopped me in my tracks and I would just take a moment to look around.

5 more miles and we got to Bear Valley Spring. Catwater went to get water but I decided to wait for Pass Creek 2 more miles down the trail. Last year it was a pretty substantial creek and I thought it was going to be reliable. But when I got there is was barely flowing and there were a few undesirable pools. I managed to clamber down and get about three quarters of a litre. I sat for a while at the bridge, after hundreds of miles walking with Growler last year this was where we parted and I reflected on the poor life choices I made at this bridge last year. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing. I couldn’t dither too long so I got moving again.

In 4 more miles I was able to fill up my water properly at Mule Ear Creek, and I carried 2 litres as we were planning to dry camp. Then there was only 4 more miles to the camp spot. The trail was still being beautiful, instead of being green and full of flowers like last year, the trail was golden with the sun shining on the mule ears and the golden grasses. I stopped regularly, I would be walking along with my head down and when I looked up I would be stopped by the beauty. I tried to capture it in photos but they really don’t do it justice. They don’t show how the trail is actually glowing.

Even with all the stopping I managed to make it to the camp spot just after 6pm and Catwater came in about 15 minutes later. We set up our tents, it’s not the most wonderful spot but it will do. I thought about not bothering with dinner, I had eaten pretty much double the snacks I normally eat in a day. As I’m only having to carry 2 days of food I went to town with the snacks. But I’ve been carrying this mountain house meal for days and days so I decided to eat it. And I had no problem polishing it off! I also ate one of tomorrow’s snacks for desert as we are doing short miles and I can’t resist shortbread.

It started to get dark around 7:30. There is a deer right next to my tent. I think it’s a deer. I hope it’s a deer. It sounds like a deer. It’s probably seeking out the pee. If I bang on the ground they run away and Catwater is shining her light on them. They keep coming back though. I have to wait until they are close enough to scare them away. If they are too far away the bang doesn’t have the same effect.

A single hiker goes by. Then a short while later 2 more hikers go by at about 9pm. It’s pitch black now. I’m assuming it’s the girls – Spice Rack and Crusher.

My stomach is making all sorts of weird digestive noises and sometimes I’m not sure what’s making the noise, the deer or me.


I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.




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