Day 74: mile 1232.1 – mile 1254.7

Elevation gain: 3,602 ft

Elevation loss: 6,222 ft

Sometimes you just gotta get it done. That’s how we felt today…you know those days at work or running errands when you’re just trying to make it through the day? That describes today perfectly. We felt like we had been transported back to the desert…”dry, hot, scrub brush, black flies in your face” type of day. We didn’t even see any water for the first 20 miles. We have really become used to crossing little seasonal streams, or actual rivers, multiple times an hour for weeks. Now all we have are Springs which are WAY off trail and hard to find and gather water from.

When we stopped for lunch at 1:00 we had walked almost 14 miles with only 6 pictures taken TOTAL! That has never happened before. We were either walking in dense forest or dry, exposed scrub brush. The wildflowers really tried their hardest to peak our interest, but even that was tough today.

These days were bound to come, of course! Link and I always try to “keep it real” on this blog. When we read this back later in life we want to remember the good AND the bad, the beautiful days AND the boring ones. Not every day can be amazing and fabulous, and I feel like we have been SUPER lucky in the great number of spectacular days! So, we both put one foot in front of the other and actually each listened to a Podcast for the first time, in one ear. This did seem to help some pretty mundane miles pass before lunch.

We thought this one was big until…
We saw THIS one…what the heck? This would cause a concussion for sure!

One crazy thing that happened is that Mantis/Pants walked into our tent site at almost 11:30pm last night! We had just assumed they decided to stop a little sooner, but they like walking at night so it was no big deal for them. So it made complete sense that they needed a little more time to wake up and get ready this morning when we left at 7:30.

After lunch, the scenery did change for the better, actually. We walked in some really lush forests which also had more new wildflowers that we had never seen before plus some cool fungi. That is one thing I’m so excited to see as we go north…the colorful fungi 😁

Around 3pm we finally came to a river, the Middle Fork of the Feather River. We decided we needed some rejuvenation and both got in to clean up a bit and cool off. This felt so refreshing, and just what we needed…a little pick me up before our “gnarly end of the day climb”, per usual. 🤨 Just as I stepped in the water, a little Garter/Ribbon type snake darted out from the rock, through the water, and onto another rock. I tried to snap a picture but he was too fast, darn it!

We had both washed our shirts out to try and keep ourselves cool as we made this 1,831 ft climb in just 4 miles…the grade was brutal! But, thankfully, it was shaded the whole time which was absolutely fabulous. The biggest problem was the number of down trees…holy cow, we need someone to adopt this trail too!

Unfortunately, this afternoon’s climb was only a “portion” of a super long ascent. So we still have 5 miles left of it first thing tomorrow morning. As someone quoted on Guthook, “This climb out of this valley, you may lose the will to live.” 😳 Even though we are dry camping in order to minimize the number of mosquitoes, we are camped in the middle of a very dense forest. And are being SWARMED!! They have actually been quite mild the last couple weeks so we thought the worst was behind us…WRONG!

We had heard this part of Northern CA was more dry and “desert-like”, but we think it’s definitely Desert 2.0 because at least we have occasional water, plus lush landscape at times. We love the variation and hope that continues in the days to come! Thanks again for all your comments…they are like GOLD to us 😉 Double Down

PS…besides the high pitched hum of millions of mosquitoes, we also just heard a cub calling out over and over for his mama. He was coming closer and closer to our tent so Link yelled out just to be sure he knew we were here. Hello…not making me feel comfortable falling asleep at the moment! 😳 I’m just gonna put my earplugs in and try not to think about it.