Date: July 28, 2017
Miles: 30.4 miles (48.9km), from mile 1,198.7 to Whiskey Spring at mile 1,229.1.
Health: Tired but happy. Knees hurt a little.
I've been trying to do a 30-mile (48,28km) day for a while now but have always felt that I needed to push too much to make it comfortably, or just ran out of daylight hours. Today everything just felt right and I managed to hit the 30-mile marker without too much trying.
I got up around 6:30 am, expecting Kendall and Sam to have already left. I put my granola soaking and got out of my shelter to see both of them still there. I was a bit tired from staying up too late to take photos of the stars last night.
Sam headed out first, and as Kendall was leaving, she mentioned she was having some issues with her Achilles and that she'd be just seeing how her body feels.
I left about five minutes after Kendall, fully expecting not to catch up to either of them as they’re both faster than me. And there was a big climb right out of the camp which means I’m going even slower. Kendall loves mornings, and I hate them. The combination of an early morning and climbing is the worst for me.
But I soon catch Kendall as she's filtering water. She doesn't seem to have her usual spring in her steps and I feel a bit worried about her. I ask her how she’s doing but judging from her answer she doesn’t want me to stick around. I push onward keeping my eye on her on every shoulder, trying to see if she has gotten up and back hiking. Finally, as I’m about to turn around the corner to the other side of the mountain, I see her back on the trail way behind.
The climb is soon over, but I’m sweating buckets. It's not even 8 am. After the climb, the trail turns back down and I catch up to Sam while he's eating breakfast next to a forest road. We chat for awhile and I tell him about Kendall. Sam gets up and we both head out together but he says he’s looking to hike solo so I try to let him do his own pace.
We end up hiking together for a long while and talking about all things the entire morning. I’m setting the pace as Sam wants to go at a slower pace. He's been burning too much energy going at a faster pace. He’s making comments about how much easier it is to hike at a little bit slower pace. I agree.
The scenery in Northern California is very much different from the desert or the Sierra sections. The mountains out here are smaller, there are more trees everywhere, and tons of small lakes. But while the mountains aren’t as high as in the Sierra, they seem to be steeper. We do a lot of up and down climbing.
We eat lunch and wait to see if Kendall catches up to us. After waiting for a while we head back out. My mood is back up thanks to having Sam to talk to while hiking. The miles seem to go faster and you don’t have to spend as much time inside your head. By this point, I’m running out of things to think by myself.
Soon we’ve done over 25 miles and it’s not even dark yet. There’s no reason to stop so we keep on hiking. According to Guthooks, there’s a water source called Whiskey Spring little over 5 miles ahead. If we make it there we’ve done over 30 miles today.
Right before reaching the spring we get up on a ridgeline from where the views are just amazing. As we stop there, I look at out mileage and realize we just crossed 30 miles for today. After a short celebration, we hike the last 0.4 miles to the spring.
The spring is some way off the trail, down a steep climb, and we end up climbing down for about 10 minutes. It’s already dark and we want to camp as close to the water as possible to not have to do the climb to the water again in the morning.
The spring is hard to find and we spend probably 20 minutes trying to locate it. We fill our water bottles and then start looking for a place to camp. We end up climbing some way back until we find a little flat spot where we set up camp.
My knees are hurting a bit and legs are little tire but I’m happy to have company again and doing my first thirty on the trail.