July 24, 2015
Burney Falls State Park (1423.6) to Clark Spring (1441.6)
18.0 PCT miles today
1476.0 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 4,045 ft, – 1,813 ft
To hike or to rest, that is the question. This morning I found myself saying the same thing to Pickles that I’ve been saying all month, “If it weren’t for [blank], I’d be feeling great!” Our bodies (with the exception of the infection in my foot), minds, and spirits are so conditioned these days that walking truly feels like second nature. I actually prefer it to anything else and really look forward to it each day. I am ready to push myself and ready to feel some of the adrenaline that comes from going beyond what is comfortable. I am ready to put in some 30 mile days, but unfortunately my foot is not. It actually doesn’t hurt so bad once we get walking, but I know that it will heal faster the less I use it, so it is out of obligation that I hike slower, take more breaks, and put in less miles.
Since we knew we should probably be taking another zero today per doctor’s orders, but we didn’t want to sit around another whole day, we tried to compromise by only hiking 18 miles and getting into camp by 4pm. This way my foot still has 14 hours of rest while I sit in my tent, but we still make progress toward Canada. It has been so frustrating to not really know what is right or wrong or good or bad when it comes to medical issues. We think we’re doing the right thing, but it’s hard to know for sure. The staph infection on my foot seems angrier than ever (I’d include a picture but I’m not sure everyone would appreciate it), but we’re hoping that just means the antibiotics are getting in there and waging war. I alternate warm compresses with icing and sometimes I cover the infection to keep it clean but other times I leave it open so it can air out. I kinda feel like a voodoo master who is willing to try any combination to make this injury heal faster.
We definitely made the right choice to get on trail today. After saying our good byes to Mama Bear, who is taking off on her own adventure to Whitefish, Montana for a month, Pickles and I found ourselves practically hugging the trees, we were so happy to be back on the PCT. Today’s weather was relatively cool and the trail itself was beautiful. It is distinctly Northern California, and it is just different enough from the desert that we still feel right at home. We had a gorgeous front-row view of Mount Shasta for most of the afternoon and it felt so refreshing to be back among our chatty woodland friends. I had to use my umbrella all day since apparently my antibiotic can cause sun sensitivity, and Pickles and I both worked to stay well hydrated. We were in high spirits when we stopped for camp, even though we both wished to go on.
Pickles’ birthday is coming up in a few days, and it’s looking like with our new schedule, we might be hiking into Castella in time to celebrate. More than anything, the thing we both want most right now is uninterrupted time on trail. We want to put in enough miles to get sore legs, have dirty, smelly clothes, and not only crave, but feel like we’ve earned, a huge, indulgent meal. If all goes well, and if I’m able to find that perfect balance between hiking and rest, then I might just be able to give Pickles a great birthday gift – fast, fun, pain-free days on the trail.