Miles: 24.95
Camping: PCT mile.1252.22

I woke up and decided it was a breakfast in my tent kind of morning. I hydrated my oats and blueberries, and begrudgingly made a nescafe. Remembering that I had stashed a dark chocolate bar in my food bag I nibbled on that in between sips (thank you Elaine!) It provided an adequate improvement, even if I had no choice. It hadn’t rained last night, so I had a much easier time of packing up camp, and made my way out of camp feeling better than yesterday.

The morning was cool and cloudy which was great for the elevation climb this morning. Once atop the ridgeline, there were blueberry and kinnickinnick bushes everywhere, dogwoods and soft needled pine trees. The wind blew a cool breeze telling of a storm nearby. I didn’t know if it was approaching or not never sure what to believe about the weather anymore. What I did know was that it kept me from sweating, and I felt like I could climb for miles in that temperature. I came upon a spring .3 miles off trail with a sign naming it “Whiskey Spring.” Someone had scrawled a note that said, “good water, no whiskey.” (It was Blisster). We filled up on the refreshing spring water and had a snack as we looked at the rest of the day. We decided to go 6 more miles to the next spring and have lunch there.

We caught up with Danger Spoon here and drank upon the sweet water. We are getting spoiled by springs in this section, and the water is delicious. As we set up beneath the pines I began to notice some really cool looking caterpillars. They were fuzzy and yellow with long hairy horns and adorable faces, like the character from the “Labyrinth” with bushy eyebrows. That is, they were adorable until we realized they were everywhere and on everything. They were falling out of the trees like a pinata full of them had burst open. We continually flicked them away while eating our midday meal.

The choice to make the 25 mile day happen today was made. We would hike an additional 13 miles after lunch to complete this goal. This is when I started having foot pain again. It’s mind numbingly painful, yet I still push on. I’m getting to my wits end on the subject though, and am not sure which factor is causing the pain. Is it the shoes? The miles? The terrain? Some days I merely bear it, others it is barely there. Somtimes Vitamin I does the trick, other times nothing helps. It’s frustrating, but I’m almost at the halfway point! Just a few more days and I have walked half of the PCT. I have a feeling the second half is going to fly by, especially now that we consistently do bigger miles. I hope more than anything that my feet keep up. They kind of have to.

Danger Spoon and I had agreed on a time and place for afternoonsies, but when I got there, he wasn’t there. I walked another 1/2 mile and gave up, happy enough to snack alone, and absolutely having to get off my feet. I laid back on a bed of pine needles and stared at the drifting clouds above. They are now light and fluffy, not even hinting at inclement weather. It was such a peaceful break, where I nibbled on a Snickers and some pretzels while staring at the sky. Blisster eventually found me this way and joined in the relaxing space. We were only 5 miles from a river though, so we found some motivation to move on with visions of swimming in our minds.

Caterpillars still dropped from the heavens, and my feet ached to the point where I was worried. I’m telling myself it was the terrain today, but we will see tomorrow. I hobbled to the river, distracted by the plant life changing with the terrain. We are now seeing live oak, and some new trees I can’t wait to identify. I focused on their identifiable features, narrowing them down to genus (an oak? a maple and a pine). I’m really enjoying my botany education these days, and yearn to learn more every day. Plants fascinate me, and so do these caterpillars. I wonder which butterfly or moth they become…and how do they do that anyway? It blows my mind. All of this provided temporary distraction from my foot pain as I arrived at the river. Adam, Cheeseburger, CrackerJack, Danger Spoon and Lost&Found were already there. I quickly joined them in the water washing the 2 day layer of dirt from my skin. It was beyond refreshing, and I definitely didn’t want to leave. We did eat dinner there beneath a big bridge before walking 1.5 more miles to camp. It was a muggy walk and now I lay in my tent exhausted. I have drank nearly all of my water so I will have to hike before breakfast tomorrow. We have nearly 7,000 ft of climbing to start out the day as well, so I think I’ll drink my one Via…hope it helps. Praying to wake up with new feet. Goodnight.

I wonder if this is what those caterpillars turn into?
lazy break view