Wednesday, May 3
Start: ridge camp, mile 129
Stop: Paradise Cafe
It’s 540am, I’m hiking downhill and I’m sweating. Nights of poor sleep are adding up and I sorta move down the trail in a dazed stupor. Basically, I’m one big hot blah feeling but I move through pockets of cool air and bit of my soul is rejuvenated.
The draw of beer and burgers is just too much. It’s 15 miles to Paradise Valley Cafe as I climb out of Tule Spring at 1030am. Seems like there is plenty of time so why not push it? But the hike very quickly turns into a heat death march. It’s so damn hot that I’m delirious. I think I hear Tori (trail name Dos Tacos) laughing so I look for my crew around every corner. But they are never there. A crow follows me for a while. Is that some kind of sign? And then I think I hear voices again but it’s just the flies. My inner thighs start to hurt and I find that my icebreaker zone shorts have shredded into swiss cheese after three days of wear. The chafe becomes unbearable pain and so I finally stop and put on my compression tights. The tights are a total bitch to pull up over dirty, sweaty legs. But I finally manager and my thighs feel much better.
It takes me 5 hours to make it 8 miles to the Walden cache. I do the math and know that if burgers and beer are in my future I must leave by 4pm. I lay down for 10 minutes and feel better. It’s now of never. No fucking way I drug myself through that heat for nothing. At 410pm as I roll out, clouds magically form and block the sun. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for clouds. I thank the cloud gods for the cooler trail and push with all my might. But what the fuck is this trail? I don’t remember all this climbing. Is this new trail? Was there some Table Mountain reroute? I almost cry everytime I come around the corner and there’s yet another turn in the trail above me. Finally, I drop back to the highway and put every last ounce of effort into the one mile to Paradise Cafe. The legs are in pain and seizing but there is beer, fries and a big burger in front of me. This is why I hike. This is why I subject myself to the ultimate torture.