Got up at 3 am and ate the rest of yesterday’s pie in the dark in my my tent before I got going. It was actually slightly better than yesterday and was nicely cold. Shortly later I was hiking, which was a special experience. I have done a lot of early day hiking, but I think it has been a ling time since I have been this early out of the bat. Everything was lit by a waining but nearly full moon so I barely needed my headlamp. On the other hand only a few stars were visible. It was completely and utterly silent. No wind, no insects buzzing, and only very occasionally a bird would chirp. Again, the trail was at the top of a ridge and the rock formations looked menacing in the faint moonlight with the sky slowly turning a very faint brown/red before becoming gradually brighter. However, a haze was seen in the south and west, which I later came to believe was from a distant fire. I was going quite swiftly and in the midday the pines spared me most of the excess heat.
On a slightly related note, does trying to untangle ones headphones while walking on uneven ground seem like a bad idea? I’m asking for a friend. It does doesn’t it? Nevertheless, that’s what I was doing with my trekking poles tucked under my one arm when I failed to see a chunk of dirt rather inconveniently was missing right where I was trying to place my right foot, so I slipped. It of course wasn’t anywhere precipitous, but still a bad idea. I only got a very minor bruise, but I could easily have bashed in my phone.
For the next long stretch the trail was going down and down in long switchbacks against the steep hillsides for what seemed like an eternity. It must have taken quite some time to construct that part of the trail. Anyways, I eventually made it to the bottom of it. Then there was only 1.8 miles to Sierra City. I wanted to hitch but thought it was kind of silly considering how long the trail was, so I road walked into town making it around two pm, well before the closing time of the country store. Nice! At the store I had two packages with new shoes and socks waiting for me. Found the first one, but decided the other one would have to wait to after lunch. I ordered a “gutbuster” burger and a beer. I felt intensely hungry waiting for it. It was nice and pretty big but the beer really knocked me out of my socks probably due to lack of sleep and exhaustion. I felt like I had had ten or so. Still, I just about managed to do my resupply and find the other package.
I had passed Yoseki earlier in the day and met him again at the store. He was planning to take a zero as he hadn’t had any since Walker Pass, which was before the Sierras. Wow. That explained why I kept passing him as he was taking fewer zeros but I was doing longer daily milages. It possibly means that we won’t meet again, which is somewhat sad. I said that I hoped that we would, but regretted not being more awake and sober for this potential goodbye.
After my resupply I added two milkshakes. I had planned to camp at the church, like a bunch of other hikers but suddenly felt like hiking maybe ten more miles. However, as I got ready to leave exactly the same as yesterday happened with the combination of large amounts of food and a tad of alcohol, so I realized that wasn’t going to happen and went to the designated camping area behind the church. Extreme exhaustion was quickly setting in but I managed to set up my tent. I wanted to do stuff like write my diary and have a shower, but it felt like completely unattainable goals as if the physics of my body had warped so that trivial tasks now required all but infinite inertia. For a while all I could do was laying there. I later went back to the store to have a soft drink and some time afterwards I eventually fell asleep. I woke up a couple of hours later, had a cold shower (which was nice enough), a rudimentary dinner, and went to bed again. A small group of quite intoxicated hikers were being quite obnoxious and inconsiderate of all the other hikers who were trying to sleep, but eventually they also went to bed.
Today’s miles: 1169-1195