After our friends & family came for a visit, we got back into our ‘daily grind.’ It’s a pretty sweet ‘grind’ if you ask me. We got to enter Lassen National Forest which is a Volcanic National Forest. There were a few side trails that we decided to venture down, one to see a Geyser & one to see a cave.
The cave was definitely worth it as the temperatures have been steaming hot and the cave was a low 47 degrees. During our hike to the cave we saw a lot of families and they were very curious about our travels. It’s always nice to see families out and about, although sometimes we feel a bit like wild animals coming out of the woods. Cars and groups of people can seem overwhelming as we are used to the quiet sounds of nature.
We continued on through Lassen National Forest and experienced the exposed areas due to the wildfires in past years. Recently we got a hitch from a man who worked for the National Forests, he explained the patterns of wildfires around the areas. He also helped me see fires in a different light, explaining the importance of fires to clear out areas for new growth.
All day we were able to see this beauty; Lassen Mountain. Lucky for us we had the most wonderful overcast day, helping to keep us cool through the exposed section.
The trail always has the magical aspect of being ‘ever-changing.’ Later in the day we got to a nice piney area and camped on a sandy beach near wonderful running water. We had slept with our tent fly off, leaving us to look at the starry sky. But in the middle of the night I quickly got up to put the fly on as I saw the storm clouds rolling in. We later awoke to the pitter patter of rain, a welcome treat.
The next day we had another hot, hot day. The water was nil, so made sure to drink a lot at the water sources and carry at least 3 liters out. We huddled in some shade and took naps, trying to find the energy to keep on hiking. When we kept hiking my mouth felt dry and all I could think was to conserve water. Then the most magical sight… Oranges in a tree, coolers, hikers….
As we sat underneath the shade drinking delicious Propel water we watched as storm clouds came near. We chatted with Jelly & Skywalker & kept smiling as it seemed the day was turning around for the better. About 10 minutes after we left the coolers it started sprinkling the perfect amount. We all kept stopping to stare at the sky as the colors and shapes of the clouds were magical.
As our water was dwindling away we were happy that a man named Jim kept a water cache for hikers. We ate our dinner and filled our waters, but not too full to make sure other hikers had some. Then we pursued our longest day of 26 miles. Arriving at camp I laid down in the tent, took some ibuprofen, and within minutes was fast asleep. About 30 minutes after laying down, Level awakened hastily as some sort of animal ran into our tent. I was so exhausted I hardly acknowledged this all happening.
The next day was quite the milemarker as we hit 1400 miles! Over three months we have been out on trail… crazy to think.
We ventured into the town of Burney, which had a wonderful church that hosted hikers. We all slept in a gymnasium on our sleeping mats & got free, hot showers. Level & I used the kitchen and made a hearty dinner. As we went through the town we saw some hikers we hadn’t seen since the first week of the trail. It was great to catch up and know that people are still trekking along.
At this point the trail has been mentally tough in a variety of ways. Each day we are thinking about our daily mileage, as there is a short window of time that you need to start and finish. Our goal is to be done by mid-September which has us doing about 20 miles a day. It has taken a toll on our legs and our minds. Each difficult day I think how even the hardest days out here are better than the anxious feelings I felt in every day ‘normal’ life. I think about how alive I feel out here, I am present and aware. I overcome difficult situations, mentally and physically every day and that makes me feel great. Each day I realize that the simpler my life, the more free I feel. So despite the hardships out here, every day is overwhelmingly worth it.
We are still hoping to raise awareness for ADAA (Anxiety & Depression Association of America) and raise $1 for every mile that we hike. Currently we have hiked 1,501 miles!
Click here to donate! ——–> http://www.crowdrise.com/hikingheals