Miles: 24.8
Camping: PCT mile 1321.2

Last night as I lay in my tent, feet achingly resting on my backpack, ready to drift away, we had a camp visitor. Apparently, a deer had made the decision to crash our sleeping party by crashing aound camp. It stomped around, grunting and whining. Apparently deer can whine. Whenever I moved so that my sleeping bag hit my tent it ran away, crashing through the woods. It kept coming back though…seemingly confused and keeping us awake. This made morning a little difficult to take but we had designs on at least 25 miles today and I had to get moving. I took out the coffee I had bought in Belden and quickly realized that it wasn’t instant. With no other option, I drank the cup, grounds and all. I think this was the moment I became a true thru-hiker.

Cheeseburger was just getting up as I left to tackle the remainder of the big climb, spitting out coffee grounds as I walked. Even with my healthy dose of cowboy coffee, I was moving at a snail’s pace. I could not conjure up enough energy to crush that morning climb, so I heavily plod up the mountain. It was right around mile 1300 that I decided to stop for second breakfast and try to add some pep to my step. I had hydrated some quinoa, adding almond butter and goldfish crackers. Don’t judge, it was delicious. Cheeseburger joined me, making himself some instant potatoes, and off we went with 4 more miles of climbing to go. I started singing, “this is the climb that never ends…” and was instantly annoyed with myself. I practiced tongue twisters, made up stories, invented an app for making playlists based on mood…huffed and puffed, sweat and groaned. Then, the climb was over. I was finally on top of the mountain looking out at the vista, Mt. Lassen in the distance, my feet aching. I laid down on the rocky hillside with my feet up and took 800mg of Vitamin I, resting my eyes and my head in the process. The shoe situation is becoming more clear, as I seem to have about a 250-300 mile limit on shoes before they break down. This doesn’t bode well for my finances, and I still haven’t discovered a brand that suits my feet. I’ve even managed to wear through a pair of darn tough socks in 250 miles, not an easy feat. They are guaranteed for life, and they didn’t even last me a month. I must be harder on my feet than most people, though I’m not sure how that is possible.

We stopped for lunch by our last water source until our intended camp loading up for the afternoon. It was hot, but at least the rest of the day only dealt in mild elevation change. I can’t imagine the loss and gain of the last couple of days helped my foot situatuion, but the milder terrain coming up should not aggravate things. We walked on, taking a .6 mile detour straight down and then up a hill for water, opting to avoid a 1 mile detour closer to camp. We were tired and ready to sleep knowing that tomorrow is a town day. Camp is 14 miles from the highway leading into Chester, and all I need is some sleep. I set my alarm for 5:30 am, hoping to make it to town in time for the post office that will only give us packages until 1pm. We also reach the halfway point tomorrow, an exciting prospect as I ready myself for sleep. Goodnight.

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