Day 96: Afternoon Dismay

I woke this morning again and again, and over and over flipped myself on my other side and went right back to sleep. It was a Banana Pancakes kind of feeling. Boomerang was beside me, and it felt almost like we were home. Except better, because there was nothing for me to do.

Eventually the hunger won out, and we shuffled from the sad campsite to the sad bar in the sad “town.” We sat down at the bar, where a cluster of hikers had assembled, and ordered two coffees. We got the weak stuff right away, and went to a table to wait. The grill was heating up and the server was completely frazzled. 

 After an hour we put money on the table for the coffee and headed around the corner to the place we had eaten lunch the day before. Both of us have had our hand in the restaurant business, and start to suffer when things are run inefficiently.

There were a few locals in the clean, tiny cafe and we got steaming cups of strong coffee right away. It was perfect, just like my fluffy pancakes and crispy bacon and over easy eggs. I felt full, but not too full, and I was ready to pack up and hit the road running. 

 But when we got back to our campsite, I took my sweet time. I carefully sorted my resupply, cleaned out my garbage, filled up a bottle of water, played around on my phone with the incredible LTE.

It was high noon by the time I put on my pack and got Boomerang to walk me out of Belden Town (a very generous name for the collapsing cluster of buildings that make up this trail stop). But it was so hot, and the swimming hole in the slow river looked so enticing. 

 We got in, and I even made a lap across the body of water. It felt perfect in the blinding heat of the day, and when I sat on the bank to dry, hiking was a hard concept to wrap my head around.

Hike I must, though, and an hour and a half later I finally was on my way.

With Rainbow Dash gone, there is no one to check the paper maps and plan ahead (how I ended up on the tops of passes with lightening storms threatening all through the Sierras). Thus I was rewarded for my enduring leisure this morning with a 6,000 foot climb starting at 1.30pm in 90 degree heat. 

 Although not one of my best plans, I have made it 15 miles and that ridiculous climb (38% of my total elevation for this stretch in one go) to camp atop the world. I almost withered away and died from heat exhaustion on the way up (in the heat of the day with steep climbing through a badly burned area with no shade), but I made it nonetheless.

And now, with no further ado (or suffering, I can only hope), I will peacefully sleep the night through.