Bushcamp (1482.7) to Castle Crags Campground (1506.5)
My eyelids were heavy and didn’t want to respond to the call of the morning. My body was likewise, an unwilling participant in the morning duties of packing up camp. I realised that my body is not ready to continually smash out big miles. The 30 plus miles yesterday hurt me, I felt it today.
The first miles of the morning was peaceful, too peaceful. Not a sound to be heard. No traffic, no industry, no planes flying overhead. Even the birds and insects were silent. At one point I stopped mid trail. I could hear not a sound. In this world that is a very rare experience.
The day warmed quickly, as has been the case in recent days. The trail provided plenty of shade with tall pine trees and lush undergrowth. After crossing several streams and climbing to the high point for the day we all stopped to enjoy lunch. In front of us was Mt Shasta, a large volcano and several other smaller conical mountains. Much nearer to us was Castle Crags, an aptly named craggy outcrop near the roadside stop of Castella, our goal for the day. I ate the last of my food. It wasn’t very much and thankfully Me Smith threw me an energy bar to top up the calories I would need to make it the next 10 miles. Unfortunately I didn’t eat enough food for the day. My energy levels were low. Have you ever seen the marathon runners staggering within sight of the finish line? I was close to that when I reached Castle Crags Campground. I looked and felt like death warmed up. At this point I had been hiking so slow I ran out of water too. There is a campsite reserved for PCT hikers. Teflon greeted me. I drank and ate some food. I could feel the nourishment entering my body. Thirty minutes later I felt human and made my way to the store to pick up something to eat for dinner.
By 8pm I was fed and watered. I felt energised. In reflection, when I arrived at the campsite I was more exhausted than I had ever been, a couple of hours later with lots of water and food in me I felt great. The human body is amazing with what it will do.