From Lacey Creek to Milton Creek
Not a particularly motivated morning, but here we are, doing it again. That seems to be the trick to thru-hiking – doing it again. The amount of miles you need to hike a day is within the reach of almost anyone who decides to start walking, it’s the repetition that gets you. “Stackin’ twenties,” as thru-hikers like to say. “I’m doing alright, it’s just when you start stackin’ the twenties, you know?”
Blue lakes in the distance, but out of reach. Good. J would want to fish, don’t have time for that. We’re not here to have fun, you know.
My feet are making me straight-up miserable, so I get out the ipod and put on an audiobook. I don’t use the ipod much, but it’s a good crutch to have on hand. I decide to listen to some Dickens and spend most the day deep in the French Revolution, it’s guillotine and untrammeled vengeance a strange companion to the trees. (What’re sore feet to losing your head?) The trees here aren’t much to look at anyhow, as we alternate between sections of grossly unhealthy forest, the trees crowded, the understory dank and filled with dead timber, and forest that’s been partially harvested. We cross dirt roads all day. There’s no real illusion of being deep in the wilderness – this is a managed forest, with years of mis-management behind it.
We end up stopping at Milton creek, the prettiest place we’ve been in what feels like a long time. The creek is robust and freezing cold, the understory lush with ferns. We meet two other PCT hikers there, kids fresh out of their freshman year of college. You can actually see the stars coming out of their eyes.
“I think I’m getting old,” says J. “I had to restrain myself from wanting to parent them.” Nothing makes you feel way older than 18 than hanging out with 18 year olds. Man.
Short day to Sierra City tomorrow – for now, it’s time to let myself relax into the soft blue light of our Sil-nylon palace. Home sweet home.