Nothing worked quite right this morning. My balance was off and I kept tripping and stumbling and kicking random rocks. Thankfully the error messages from various body parts came in one by one. First The right leg aching from the hip, which I attributed to having slept on it funny. Then my back, from the pack not fitting quite right today. Then the outsides of my knees. I’ve been fine for a while now, so why the sudden complaining?
Still, by 1:15 I’d done 18 miles and took a well earned break since the sky didn’t look too menacing. The only reliable spring was 800ft off trail but was shaded and quiet so I sat and ate lunch there.
Around 3:30 I crossed a paved road to a trailhead where I met Buns and Autumn. I’d expected them to be with a friend who they had said would be hiking with them for a bit after Sierra City, but it turned out he gave up after 12 miles. I think it is hard for anyone who hasn’t just hiked 1,000+ miles to jump straight into hiking alongside a thru-hiker at this stage, even with consideration of speed and distance. I certainly don’t realise just how strong I have become, except when I look at my mileage and realise I’ve averaged over 2.5mph for the whole day including uphills, downhills and breaks.
Around 4pm I could hear another thunderstorm on the other side of the hill, although it was still hot and sunny on my side. I checked the map, and of course I was heading straight towards the storm. I draped my rain jacket over my pack and did the same waterproofing with the pants that I did yesterday. Thankfully I skirted the worst of the storm, getting sprinkled on a bit but only ever seeing the lightning from across the valley.
By 6:30 I had made it to the Middle Fork of the Feather River, which eventually becomes the Sacramento River. I made camp around 100ft from the water and settled down for the evening, glad to rest my feet after the long miles.
Camping: Mile 1252