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Day 79

Day 79

Distance hiked today: 25.7 miles / 41.4 km.

Northern California (Nor Cal) is starting to feel like the desert, hot and dusty, but with trees. The main difference is there's plenty of water here, with frequent streams crossing the trail. Today though, quite a few were slightly off-trail, short walks down a hill to where a spring trickled out from the mountain. Trying to avoid side trips, I skipped quite a few of them and carried more water.

I hit the 2000km mark, although it's still hard to comprehend how much distance that is. The definition of "within walking distance" will forever be a lost cause for me, because apparently you can walk really far.

Then the burn areas began, where fires in the last few years have completely decimated the forest. The trees haven't started falling yet for the most part and remain standing, their branches bare of needles and their bark blackened and crisp.

Little white mushrooms grew on the North side of the tree trunks, apparently thriving in the post-burn ecosystem. Their white tops reflected the sun like jewels against the matte black bark. Wild flowers sprout in some areas along the trail, and huge holes in the ground appear where roots burned away underground.

I'm trying to avoid camping in the burn areas, where falling trees/branches are potential dangers. There was one river valley that the fire skipped, where trees and greenery still lived in a little oasis in the wasteland. I camped here and rinsed off in the river which was surprisingly warm. For the first time on trail it stayed very hot overnight, and I lay sweating on my sleep pad with no sleeping bag until it started to cool slightly in the early morning hours.

Total trail mileage: 1249.7 miles / 2010.8 km

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