Day 80 | mile 1687.8 - 1717.7 | 29.9 miles

Four bad nights in a row! I’m on a streak. I heard/felt somebody munching on something at some point during the night. Didn’t shine the light to investigate because it wasn’t a large animal and I was 80% sure it was an insect. When I woke up, I realized they chewed through my pack’s bottom mesh pocket (even though it was empty), and my salty/sweaty trekking pole cork grips. Yum!

I wasn’t very hungry and I really just wanted to get the fuck out of there, so I started hiking. It was uphill. It was pretty. I had no energy.

Got to the border at 7. Took some pictures. When you’re hiking by yourself, you have to get creative if you want a picture with you in it. First, I balanced the camera on my pack. But it was too low. Then I leaned my trekking poles against a tree (with the tree it made for a tripod!) and balanced the camera on top of that. I really wish I had gotten a picture of that setup.

It didn’t really feel real. And I still had 4 more miles of this climb. I wanted to get that over with before breakfast, so I pushed on.

I started noticing storm clouds in front of me. Got reception at the top of the climb and called Alex. Boom! Lightning. 7 seconds later, thunder. It was cool and spooky at the same time.

I stopped for breakfast at 10. Big oatmeal, perfect bar, then tea and all the leftover cheese pastry. I had been saving this tea since I got it in a hiker box in Burney. And what’s better than earl grey tea on a stormy day? It started sprinkling and I put on my rain jacket. The smell of damp trail and bergamot was intoxicating. I wanted to sit there forever.

Lightning and thunder continued most of the day. I was on a ridge overlooking a valley when I saw what looked like condensation rising from the trees. 30 minutes later: wait, something smells smoky. I texted Alex: “uh is it possible one of these lightning bolts just started a fire?” A couple of hours later, I ran into some trail runners who told me there were 3 fires caused my lightning this morning. They’re trying to put them out now.

Trail magic 12 miles outside of Callahan’s. Soda. A little out of character for me, but I took one. I think because I was dying of thirst at Hat Creek Rim a few days ago and there was an empty container of sodas by a road. I was really bummed and swore I would take the next soda trail magic.

Met an older Austrian guy named Freebird sitting just past the soda coolers. I would’ve walked right by, but he was eating Kirkland brand Nutella knockoff out of the jar. I stopped and asked how it was. He let me try some on my English muffin. Nuttier and not as sweet as Nutella, but not bad.

We sat and chatted for while. Then hiked and chatted the whole way into town. He said he wasn’t feeling that well, and was thankful for the company. It was nice to talk to someone for a while. He started in March and did the Sierra super early. But he says he won’t finish the trail. He is picking up his wife in Portland in 4 days and they’re going to do some sections together.

We parted at the I-5. He started hitching into Ashland and I walked on to Callahan’s. Called Alex to advise me on room vs camping decision. He was golfing with Chris and John.

Given my bad sleep streak, I opted for the expensive room. $130 with tax. My face got kind of hot when I was paying for it.

They checked for my resupply package but didn’t find it. :( Mail comes between 2-4, he said. Agh. I went to the room and showered. A washcloth is essential to get my feet clean at this juncture. This room comes with robes! So soft and cozy. So much better than doing laundry in a rain jacket and wind pants.

I started laundry and asked the front desk person if it would be super inappropriate to go to the restaurant in a robe. He said not at all. So, I sat on the patio, in a robe, table for 1, eating a salad, burger, and chocolate cake.

Guys, I paid an extra $2.50 for avocado on my burger. It was not noticeable. Upon further inspection, there was a smattering of green on the bun under the patty, so that must’ve been it? I think it’s funny that the waitress asked if I wanted avocado on the burger or on the side. That amount of avocado on the side would’ve been comical.

My chocolate cake a la mode was cold. So, I asked if I could just take it to the room. Microwaved it, added ice cream, and lived my best life.

I felt super guilty for spending so much money here. And because the package didn’t come in time, I was going to lose a day of hiking. I had a disproportionate response to all this, and felt even worse because I knew I was overreacting.

Super tired, but had some trouble falling asleep because of all this.