Day 71

Day 71 – mile 1200 to 1227 – Sierra Buttes Camp to NorCal Blues Camp:
If the Northern California Blues exist, then they hit me today.  Hikers talk about getting north of Tahoe, then losing all motivation to continue.  I hear that most dropouts actually cut out around the midpoint.  I suppose I’m beginning to understand why.  In the desert, everything is still new and exciting, and there’s always the mythical ‘Sierras’ waiting up ahead where water flows in abundance.  Then you’re there, hiking through the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer.  Striking granite features and rushing rivers exceed your expectations.  But then what happens?  Well, then you get NorCal, where you have to face the prospect of endless rolling forest through beautiful, but perhaps unspectacular in comparison, parts of the west and up through Oregon.  Washington and the Canadian border are still too far away to imagine, but constantly terrorize your thoughts with threats of rain and snow if you don’t keep moving.  Even after coming this far, I don’t want to whisper about the end, afraid that I may jinx something and give myself bad joo joo.  What I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to find short term motivation to get up and sweat all day.  Everyday.
Well that’s the NorCal Blues, everyone.  They hit me for the first time today, but fear not!  I am equipped with the mental fortitude, determination, and full mp3 player to take me all the way.
From camp, it was an easy climb in the shade to the Sierra Buttes trailhead.  Hordes of day hikers prepared for their journey to the fire lookout on top, but I was fortunately headed in the opposite direction.  The trail stuck to the ridge high above a number of lakes to the east, which all looked totally swimmable and inviting.  Too bad I was stuck far away, grrr.
It was here that the aforementioned Blues hit.  Flooded with nostalgia and childhood memories of family trips spent in this area, I got a little homesick.  So I did what any sane individual would do, and plugged into a little Taylor Swift.  Turns out, this doesn’t help and only made me homesick for San Diego.  But it got me on the right track and I found some tunes to lift my mood.
Rocking out, not even the thunderstorm that moved in could make me frown.  It harmlessly rattled a few pine needles with frequent sheet lightning, but kept its moisture locked away in the clouds.
Trees, trees, and more trees.  When the monotony was broken, it was with stunning displays of wildflowers still in bloom.  Indian paintbrushes for days.
The afternoon went like that until I found a suitable spot to camp where the trail intersected a dirt road.  This whole area is crisscrossed with enough dirt roads to keep a dirt biker lost for weeks.  It’s still overcast, but the thunder has stopped.  I guess I’ll risk the cowboy camp.  Day one of the blues safely complete.  May day two never appear.


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