110. July 29: Mile 1566.27 Campsite to Mile 1591.50 Paynes Lake
Forgive me because this is probably going to be vague. It’s now 10:00 PM after getting to camp at 9:30. Today sucked, to be frank. I lost track of the amount of times we climbed up 1000 feet and then back down 1000 feet only to do it again, but it was several and I hated every minute of it.
Northern California gets a bad rap by PCTers. In part because of its relatively lackluster scenery (compared to say, the Sierras, but it’s still beautiful), but also because of its heat. Let me tell you, it’s hot. Very hot. And doing climb after climb with descents that are rocky and slow on top of the heat is pretty much equivalent to sitting inside your oven while doing an intense interval workout with Richard Simmons cheering you on obnoxiously because you can’t for the life of you find something less annoying to motivate you. So yeah, multiply that experience by two or three or four or how ever many times we went up and down and that was our day. Not terribly fun.
We stopped for dinner around 5:00 or 6:00 but didn’t set up camp. That’s not normal for us, but since we could tell it was going to be a late night anyway we just opted to eat and then once we got to camp set up the tent and go straight to bed which is what we did.
Those last three miles were rough, though, after dinner. It was all downhill and in the trees with fading light, but by then my feet already had over 20 miles on them and were aching tremendously. My eyes were drooping and I was exceptionally weary. However, as I walked and the light dimmed I was able to get into a sort of peaceful frame of mind. I put in one of my dad’s Neil Diamond albums that I would often listen to on late night drives to and from college down in Kentucky. I rather enjoyed that last bit, actually.
We’re camped right next to what I think is a large lake, but since it’s pitch black out and there’s other tents in the area I’m trying to to wave my headlamp around too much. Hopefully the five mile hike into town will be easy or at least easier than today.