Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 86-Oop's Water

Mile 1426 to mile 1448

When putting on my socks this morning I noticed that one sock had a hole and the blister on the heel of my foot had become a blood blister. I decided to continue ignoring it and go for a hike.

We did the first three miles in an hour arriving at a creek and saw Oops having a sponge bath. The guide book calls it the best swimming hole on the whole trail...if you can get to it.  Which we couldn't. On one side of the pool was a 40 foot cliff, the other a 20 foot cliff and waterfalls at either end. Looking at the pool I couldn't imagine how hikers get into the water. I was disappointed to miss it, but I just couldn't see how to get to the pool.

I filled up on water and we hiked on. About a mile after leaving the creek it dawned on me that Oops was taking his bath up stream so I had a liter of Oops water that I didn't want to drink.  Luckily there was a spring four miles after the creek and I got there still carrying most of the creek water. 

The spring was .1 off trail, although when going down both Portrait and I thought it was further off trail. It was worth the walk though. We both dumped out our Oops water and filled up from the little metal pipe that was spewing cold clean water. Probably some of the best water I've tasted in awhile.

We had an early lunch back on the trail in a charming little campsite that was blanketed in pine needles.  While I made my usual wrap for lunch clouds rolled over the sun.  We both looked up at the thick blanket covering the sky. It had been awhile since either of us had seen cloud cover. When we left our lunch spot the sky was mostly blue again.

The trail climbed slowly upwards. I could feel the extra weight of water-the next source, a creek six miles away, was supposed to be gross.  At the top of the climb, only an hour and a half after leaving our lunch spot, we stopped for a short snack break.

The trail stayed on the ridge after the climb. It crossed well over a dozen forest roads-it wasn't feeling very scenic. The forest the trail passed through was also being managed. There were signs of logging everywhere.

At the creek water did indeed look a little on the gross side. I was happy to still have excellent spring water to sip on while I walked. the guide book listed another spring off of one of the many forest roads that we were counting on for water to bring us through a dry camp. I wasn't to worried about finding the right road-we had Portrait's GPS if we needed it. We also had other hikers. Those ahead of us had marked each road crossing with a spring (there were 3 of them) with arrows made of sticks, rock piles, and spelling out H2O with sticks. No one was going thirsty here.

The spring we went to was a beauty. It was a small waterfall set back into a notch in a bank with a small stream flowing in front of it. I had thought the water earlier in the day was good, but this was cold enough it almost hurt to drink. I took three liters for the five miles of hiking left for the day, to cook with, and for the five miles in the morning before water. My pack didn't feel too heavy which meant I'd eaten enough of my bonus town food.

The clouds were back. Mount Shasta was hiding her herself, only the base of the hulking mountain could be seen between clouds and ridge line. We caught glimpses of her for the last five miles.

The last spring of the day

Just under three miles from camp I felt my stomach hit bottom. If I didn't stop to snack six miles would have rolled under my feet since my last snack, but if I stopped I'd be hiking into camp in the dark. I pushed on. Talking mostly stopped while I focused inward on making it to camp.  At a small overlook Portrait checked his GPS while I waited with great anticipation. I was sure we only had .3 to camp. So very sure. I felt crushed when he told me .7. I said nothing, just turned away from the socked in view and hiked on.

That .7 went by as quick as .3. Sadly there was a tent in the campsite already and there wasn't room for two more. Onward again, but not far. There was an old jeep road that was mostly flat that we decided to set up on. I ate dinner and I could feel the energy building up with each bite.

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