Day 64: Independence Day

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Mile 1195.4 to mile 1227.1 (31.7 miles, 51km)

Plus 1.4 miles from town to trail

I unintentionally did a 33 mile day today.

Feeling great and in good spirits after a relaxing half day I decided to push it a little bit today. Typically I have a location in mind to call it quits for the day. Today was different. I did not really have any specific place in mind to finish and thought I would just keep walking until around 7pm or until my feet told me they had had enough.

Well, 7pm rolled around well before my feet said quit. It stays light here until around 9pm now so still a couple of hours of light left in the day but I checked my maps and realised I’d already hiked 33 mile for the day. Wow! A new PB and still feeling good. 33 is enough and on finding a flattish spot to pitch my tent I stopped.

Starting the day was a bit tough. Leaving the comfort of a soft bed and heading back out on trail is always challenging. I’d love to stay another day and sleep in, wait for the shops to open to grab a cooked breakfast and hot coffee. (Not sure if they are actually opening today though as it’s Independence Day.) The moment that starts happening though is the moment this hike is over. It would be easy to do short days all the time, laze in town and take more time but I won’t reach Canada doing that. Those type of holidays are for another occasion. I’ve past far too many people still averaging 15 mile days which is going to make it real hard for them to reach the end if they stay on trail. I keep hearing that pace will lift further in Oregon – I hope so.

I had a 1.4 mile road walk out of town and then a 7 mile climb to gain 1500 ft in elevation. I made the right call in staying the night in town and tackling this climb in the morning. It was tough and felt like it took forever. Climbing this hill towards the Sierra Buttes in the afternoon sun would have been much harder work. Midway up there were some great views looking back into the narrow valley and the Sierra City township.

The trail took on a new flavour from here on which I’ve heard will the be the norm for quite a while – after climbing one hill the trail descends straight down to a valley and back up to another hill. All in all, I think this happened 4 times today.

Views were mixed with some ridge top views but mostly the trail stayed on the contour not really taking you to any summits as such. The grading is certainly nice and it makes climbing so much easier.

I forgot to put my sun gloves on today. I’m not sure how I forgot as they form a permanent piece of my uniform. The price paid? Both hands sunburnt.

A big one today that I’m really happy with. I might see if I can go another 30 tomorrow and if they becomes the new norm that will be awesome.

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