Day 75-76: It’s Not Always a Walk in the Park and Matt Cries Mosquito

7/6-7/7/17 25.3 miles PCT Mile 1524.1

We stayed in a hotel last night which was so nice. Matt did town chores so I could rest my feet, truth is I usually do chores so it was nice to make Matt do them for a change. I laid in bed all evening watching TV with a brief intermission to pop my blisters. Two large blisters developed under my calluses. I got my needle out and stabbed around finally piercing the tough calluses and getting down to the blister. When I took the needle out the fluid shot straight up in the air. I spent a considerable amount of time draining both blisters. It felt soooo good! After Matt did laundry he got pizza, burger, fries, beer, cider, and a pint of mocha ice cream for dinner. We ate all of it but a few slices of pizza. I then proceeded to eat the entire pint of ice cream. It was caffeinated and I had a hard time falling asleep so I took a Benadryl. It helped and I slept in until 8:30. We were to checkout at 11am and we would bum around town buying groceries, new shoes, and then have dinner before returning to the trail. At 11:02am the phone rang and the owner asked if we were staying another night, we said no. I couldn’t believe they were so worried about us leaving as the entire hotel was empty. So we left and walked the mile to downtown Mt. Shasta. I went to the outfitter in town where I tried on 7 different pairs of shoes waffling between sizes for an eternity. Matt quickly vacated the sports store as he wanted no part in my shoe vacillation. He went to a coffee shop to buy latte after latte. They didn’t have a large enough size in the woman’s shoe that I wanted so I had to get men’s. I got a men’s size 10, I’m practically wearing clown shoes but I don’t care as my feet can spread out for days now. 

I met Matt at the coffee shop and we worked on our blogs for awhile. We then went grocery shopping and repackaged our food next to Main Street. A man that looked almost homeless asked if he could buy us anything, we said no, and then he said he could give us some weed. We said we were fine and he walked off saying he was just here to serve people. 

After dinner we walked to I-5 and got a ride pretty quickly. The couple who gave us a ride live off the same exit we needed to take so they are pretty use to giving hikers rides. As a PSA announcement pick up hitchhikers, they will love you for it! We got back to the trail at 5:40pm and we planned to only hike 3 miles to the first campsite. The campsite was next to a creek swarming with mosquitoes. We quickly set up the tent and jumped in. We vowed to never camp near a creek again, just as we have the last 3 nights. I have found a silver lining to camping in mosquito infested areas, Matt moves pretty quickly in the morning when he is being swarmed by mosquitoes.

In the morning we packed up as quickly as possible and we were on the trail half an hour later. Like always when we leave town we are treated to monsterous climbs. Today would be no different. At least we had decent views of Castle Crags. 

Castle Crags State Park

After we were done with the majority of the climb we stopped near a small stream for lunch. We were joined by a retired woman from San Francisco. She remarked that 4 people she had been hiking with all recently quit. She said the last one got 3 miles in and said, “I’m done.” After lunch as we walked along ridges as the hot sun beat down on us, I thought about why people quit. I myself feel like I’ve had a harder time with trail life than I thought I would. I thought I was gonna feel amazing and strong like I could hike all day and night. Instead I’m still sore after a big climb like today, my feet ache, and the first 20 steps in the morning are a hobble. Everyday you pack up all of your things just to unpack every item that night to set it all up again. Even breaks are not that relaxing. Half the time you are sitting on the side of the trail awkwardly filtering water trying to stuff some food in your mouth. When you get to camp for the night you have to make dinner while crouching over a pot, if you are lucky you might have a log or rock to sit on. The only time you really get to rest is when you close your eyes at night. Sounds fun right? Oh don’t forget you also have to walk 25 miles. 

Anyways, I digress! I’m not going to quit and I’m still enjoying the experience despite the challenges. 

We had our sights set on a large campsite and needed to get water first. As we rounded the corner I saw it, mountain lice, aka snow. There was snow on a side trail to where the spring was suppose to be. The spring was down a steep snowy bank, I guess we won’t be getting water here. I should have read the water report better as it did say, “snowy don’t recommend getting water here.” We would have to hike further than planned as we did not have enough water for dinner or for drinking. Luckily there was another spring a little over a mile past where we had planned and hopefully we could find a place to camp nearby. I think Matt was running out of water because he stopped, and I asked what are you doing.” He said, “nothing what are you doing.” He was getting a little snappy, the afternoon blues will do that to you. Speaking of being snappy, another hiker was going on about how he doesn’t like to cook where he eats and was shocked that we do. This instantly annoyed me so I walked off leaving Matt to talk to him. What I didn’t like is that inevitably you might cook where another hiker will camp that same night. So what does it matter! 

Matt presnap

As we closed in on the spring I was happy to see a mostly flat dirt area that even had a fire pit. It was next to an unpaved road, but it would have to do. As we set our things down before walking down to the spring I heard Matt say, you better start a fire I’m getting bit by mosquitoes. I said, ok, even though I hadn’t seen one mosquito. After getting water I started a fire to ward off all the mosquitoes that were hounding Matt. I asked Matt if maybe it was just gnats that swarmed him. He said, “yes I think it was just gnats.” I let the fire die down as it was a bit windy. 

We quickly ate our dinner and retreated to our tent. A car drove by and then a few minutes later I hear the car reverse back up to our tent, stop and then drive off. Townies I guess.

On a positive note my feet are doing better, they are still swelling throughout the day but the pain has lessened as my feet have more room to swell.  

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