My alarm went off at 4:30 this morning, but it was still way too dark and I reset it for 5:00. Once I started hiking after 5:30, there was plenty of light. I made it to Cache 22 in good time and found about thirty gallons of water and some lawn chairs in a shelter. I drank, ate, refilled my bottles, and enjoyed sitting in the shade for a while. One of the trail angels who maintains the cache drove up while we were there so we helped carry more water in. He said he’d also be putting some at a smaller cache farther up the trail.
I sat in the shelter way too long because the heat had been turned way up by the time I got back on the trail in the sun. It was so hot that for lunch I just lay in the dappled shade under a tree sweating. My water was hot to drink, but luckily I had some peach tea drink packets and that is more bearable than just drinking hot water when it’s 100 degrees.
I didn’t stay long on my lunch break since the heat wasn’t going to go down any time soon and I needed to make miles. I also started having pain in my leg from my sciatic nerve being pinched. Maybe my pack was weighted or adjusted unevenly but I couldn’t readjust it so the pain shooting down my leg would stop for hours. Between that and the heat, I felt like I was just stumbling down the trail.
I got to the second small cache on Cassel Fall River Road and found a dozen gallons or so. This water had been sitting in the sun for a while so it was very hot and hard to get a liter down.
We eventually made it to the end of the dry stretch, a creek just before Baum Lake. I had to take a quick dip in the water, despite it being very fishy from the attached fish hatchery. There were some pelicans hanging out at the other side of the lake which were cool to watch.
Stretch and I continued to the road to Burney after 26.6 miles, where AT ’13ers Sunshine and Cannibal Curious picked us up. We stopped at the McDonald’s in town for a quick meal and to grab Mac and Switchfoot, and then they drove us up some twisty mountain roads to their land to camp for the night. We caught up by a propane campfire for a couple hours, hanging out with their three cool dogs, and went to bed late.