Forest fires roared through our dreams, inspiring us to get up early while the sun was still struggling to shine through the partly cloudy skies. As we headed towards Seiad Valley we were rewarded with more incredible views of the Gap Fire, overlooked by an old fire look out high on a ridge. After a bout of ridge walking we headed down steeply into Seiad Valley, pointing out Poison Oak to eachother. We made it into Seiad Valley early and decided to sta for lunch at the cafe. We each ordered a milk shake and food but quickly discovered that we could have split a milk shake. They were huge. Not that we couldn’t handle our own, but it’s not wise to hike on a stomach filled with milk and sugar. Kyle wisely obstained from finishing his, but I have somewhat of a soft spot for milk shakes. I finished the whole thing. We took about fifteen minutes to digest before heading back to the trail. We still had another fourteen miles to hike that day. Out of Seiad Valley (or in depending on your direction of travel) is a six mile road walk.
About two miles into our six mile road walk the milk shake started to make itself felt. I was so sick. I was nauseous and dizzy (there might have also been a touch of dehydration going on). It was incredibly hot out, we were down in a valley after all, and there was very little shade on the road. Having my hip belt cinched felt terrible but having all of my weight on my shoulders didn’t feel good either. Every mile I was having to lay down on the side of the road and suffer. Kyle was concerned about my health but I was worried about our schedule. If we couldn’t hike the miles that day tacking them onto the next day would be challenging, every day was maxed out. So I just kept trudging. Finally the road walk was over and I was slowly improving. We were back into the woods, even if they were burnt woods, and walking next to Grider Creek. Podcasts got us through the rest of the day, which was all uphill and involved roving clouds of gnats. I had a rough beginning to the day and Kyle had a rough end to the day, especially when we got to camp and there was no one else there. But we made it, all the way to our planned campsite, and I felt good about that. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and finish out your day, as planned. And that is what we did. Boom.
Can we all agree that these photos of Kyle look like those photo shoots people do of their children when they turn two where they give them a cake and the child gets progressively more covered in frosting?