7.15.18. 24.3 miles.
Today started with a bang, quite literally. At 3:30 am I woke up to weird rumbling noises that I quickly identified as thunder, followed by lightning and rain. The rain came down hard at one point and the lightning was so incredibly bright, it completely lit up the forest I was sleeping in. The storm went on for an hour before subsiding. I was planning on waking up around 4 this morning to get hiking and finish the climb before it got too warm, but since I was up with the storm and still tired, I slept from 4:30 to 5:15 and then got ready, and was hiking by 5:45.
The rest of the climb was decently difficult. I was pretty tired, but was moving much better once I was just a few miles from the top. The steepest parts were actually yesterday, but today was still pretty hard. I topped out at 9:45, 7ish miles and 3,000ish ft of elevation gain later. At the top I found a nice rock and took a longish break since I had service and I also had a great view of Mt. Lassen! We officially left the Sierra Nevada mountain range and entered the Cascade Range upon leaving Belden, so geographically speaking, big changes are ahead, and I’m really excited, especially for Lassen National Park!
Nothing really thrilling happened today. Lots of ups and downs in the forest, some exposure with cool volcanic rock. I had a stare-down with a deer at my lunch spot who would not leave, and I wasn’t leaving either. It was my first lunch in a while that I wasn’t being attacked by flies or ants and had plenty of shade. Basically it was amazing and this deer would not leave me alone. It eventually did, but I was getting ready to leave too.
This afternoon was sluggish for me. This morning I had big plans of maybe getting within 2 miles of the halfway point, so I wouldn’t have any uphill to do tomorrow, but when I got to the bottom of that climb after already climbing to the tentsite I was at, I decided I’d save it for tomorrow. I also had to detour a total of 0.6 miles just to get water during a dry stretch today, and it was steep trail, so I didn’t really want to hike more. I met three southbound section hikers today, one of which is finishing her hike from last year, and two are at my tentsite tonight! There is an annoying deer trotting around the tentsite tonight. I hear the deer are downright crazy in NorCal and will do anything to get to your sweat. Everyone says to bring in all of your clothes & shoes & trekking poles to the tent otherwise a deer might chew on them!
I can’t believe I’m hitting the halfway point tomorrow. It feels so surreal that I’ve walked so far, yet have the same amount more to still walk, but I’m still in California! Idk so many feelings and emotions, we’ll see how I feel when I see the little monument. I’m mostly excited.