Mile 1761 to 1782
Between my waking a little late and Kevin needing to tend to his blistery feet, we get a slower than usual start. Even the college students and their high school teacher break camp before we do.
I remember a time in my life, mostly before college, when I liked to play Hot Lava. It is a simple game where all the floors are presumed to be molten rocks that if touched cause instant death and even longer lasting humiliation from the other players. The game typically involves strategically arranging furniture and pillows. With as few as two such items you can move about the house. Standing on one, you place the other in the desired direction of travel. Climb on the newly placed item and pick up the other one. Repeat until you arrive, or your mother yells at you for walking on the furniture.
Today I feel we are playing the opposite of Hot Lava. We are traveling through vast black volcanic rock bolder fields. The trail is a meandering vein of small red lava rocks and dust, through the otherwise black barren landscape. The effect is one of eerily walking down a thin river of hot lava. Given the endless green tunnels we have been hiking, the effect is interesting and quite pleasing. Mile after mile however the novelty wears as thin as the soles of my shoe on this high friction surface. Another issue becomes apparent when nature calls and you realize the difficulty of digging a cat hole in this environment, let alone the inability to establish any reasonable sense of privacy.
After 10 miles of this, we arrive at a creek crossing. This is our only water for the day, other than the seasonal spring we hope to find at tonight’s camp in 11 more miles. We filter several litres. Kevin washes his aching feet and socks, which may or may not also be aching.
We had earlier asked Terri via email to process a banking transaction for Kevin. We later received a reply email saying “Mission accomplished.” The email also said I should call when I get a chance. I have checked many times and have had no service. We have been playing a game called “Why Does Terri Want Me To Call?” We have ruled out “I miss you and just want to hear your voice” as it appears out of character and has never been spoken before. We are thinking it is more likely “I need to buy a car. Do you care or can I just pick one?” I am hoping it is nothing more serious.
We arrive at the spring and find a stealth campsite behind some bushes. We make dinner wearing our mosquito head nets, but unfortunately eating requires us to remove them. We filter water with several other hikers. This is the last water for a while so everyone is loading up.
We retire early. No signs of Mount Shasta, and Franco is still dead.