We woke up feeling refreshed from the previous days blues. Thoughts of home were put to one side, and more narrow focus was set to get us to our next resupply. The day started in dense and disorientating forest the took us up and and down steep hillocks and over bare rock ridge lines that gutted out unnaturally along the trees. Eventually we were spat out into the now familiar and much loved open crest with its Mule’s Ear shrubs.
All around us was forest as far as the eye could see. The scenes were too brief and soon we were back in the woods but along a more gradual path. We stayed among the trees for much of the morning though it opened up to areas of buzzing life. Butterflies, bees, lizards, and birds of numerous species fluttered and scurried about us among the manzanita, mules ears, lupins, and countless other unidentified plants. It was here, however, that water became scarce providing flashbacks of Southern Cali days.
We stopped for lunch by one of the many paved roads we crossed, and Molly dashed down it in search of water with success! At this point, just after midday, we had already done 15 miles. With that motivation we pushed on, spending much of the afternoon back in the shaded woodland which only a few days before we would have cursed for its snows, yet today was dry.
We descended down what seemed a near vertical hill – thank PCTA for switchbacks – towards the Middle Fork of Feather River. It was a beautiful fast flowing river that passed below a high bridge. We collected water from its rapids but resisted the urge to take a dip saving ourselves for Bear Creek where we would camp. To get there however we needed to do one last climb and descent to its valley.
Finally at the creek edge, we dumped everything and jumped into its refreshing coolness. The plants on its banks gave the illusion of a Jurassic world as we sat in the water feeling the tension drain from our weary legs. It was a blissful end to a fantastic day.