Mile 1379 to 1408
Although it seems like a continuation of yesterday, when the clock rolls past midnight it is officially a new day. After a couple of hours of sleep, I pack up, put on my headlamp and iPod Nano, and I start jamming. I have serious miles to do on this 30 mile waterless rim walk. I only have two litres of water and 25 miles left. Since it is going to be close, I figure my best chance is a night hike when it is cooler and I will drink far less.
When hiking at night I have a very different animal experience. I did not know this but some birds sleep standing on the trail. As I am about to step on one it explodes into flight, but with slightly less force than my heart flying out of my chest. As I round a corner on a Hat Creek Rim cliff face, I find myself face to face with what is no longer a sleeping cow. I fear one of us is being startled off the edge, but based on each of our incontrollable moos, I score it a tie. A small but brave skunk makes three false charges. He lunges straight at me from the trail, shaking his tail and stops. Unsuccessful at moving the beast from his trail, he lunges again closer displaying his tail more prominently and stops. Same results. His last effort is truly voracious, but he suddenly bolts off the trail in retreat. I am pretty sure at that point he was close enough to smell me and realized he had met his match.
After night hiking from midnight to 4am I drop my pack, pull out my sleeping bag and fall instantly asleep by the trail. Whatever revenge is inflicted on me by the bird, the cow and the skunk I do not remember, though as the 5:00-ish sunrise wakes me there is what appears to be marker scribbling on my face.
I continue hiking in the morning light. The time between breaks is getting shorter and the duration longer. I am pretty sure I fall asleep on a couple of them. I have not seen another soul through the entire ordeal. I eventually make it to a Pacific Gas & Electric power station by a river. I filter water, swim and watch fishermen catch rainbow trout. No camping is allowed here, so I hike on another 3 miles and crash on a ridge.