When I woke up near clear spring, Red Bass, Thunder Thighs, and Ice Cream were still sleeping so I packed up my stuff quietly and headed out. The trail was mostly flat and the morning was cool so I moved fast and got some miles in early.
I usually wake up around 5:30 and am hiking by 6 am. On a fast morning I can finish 10 miles by 10 am (10×10) and 20 miles by 2 pm (20×2). This was one of those mornings.
The trail followed a ridge through the woods, sometimes giving me a view out. At one point I saw a thick plume of smoke and worried it was a forest fire on the horizon. With the continued drought in California, fire dangers are high and I hope they do not interfere with the hike.
In the early afternoon I reached a small opening on the ridge and the thing I was most looking forward to that day: the half way monument!!
According to the monument I was 1,325 miles from the Mexican border, with 1,325 miles until the trail end in Canada. According to my GPS, I was at mile 1,320, but I considered it close enough to celebrate with some sweet snacks and text messages.
The rest of the day was all down hill to the middle fork of the Feather River where I made camp. I hiked just over 35 miles that day, over 14 hours and was feeling really good.
When I got to the river, I found Two Dots and Lady Bug, hanging out in their tent. I hadn’t seen them in weeks and we spent an hour catching up while I stretched and ate. It was nice to hear their stories about the Sierras and everything since then. I was sort of hoping they could be hiking buddies for a few days but they weren’t going as many miles per day and they were only just waking up as I left the next morning.
When I stopped to get some water from a stream, I realized that I had lost the O-ring that goes in my squeeze water filter. Without this piece, the filter is essentially useless because the water just leaks out around the connection to the water bottle I have it on. I needed something to substitute for the O-ring in order to filter my water.
I had a few gummy lifesavers I had bought as a snack. I thought, “well, that will never work”, but I thought I would try it anyway.
Surprisingly, the gummy lifesaver did the job and I was able to filter a liter of water. However, I ran into a complication the next time I needed to use the filter. The sugar and gelatin in the candy was coming into contact with water and heat, which resulted in a melty, gooey mess. I replaced the gummy saver which helped but I only had a few left and knew this was not a long term, viable option. I tried using some mole foam as a replacement but that didn’t work. I ended up not filtering my water at all for the next week and just drinking from springs and fast moving streams. If I don’t get giardia from this trip I’ll consider it a minor miracle. 😉