CDT Day 58: North Buffalo Fork to Upper Brooks Lake – Eyes in the Dark Camp to 1000 Miles Camp
Miles hiked: 25.2
Total miles: 1005.1
We reached another milestone today. We passed the 1,000 mile marker, which doesn’t actually mean a whole lot. It’s just a big number, that’s all. We still have a big number left to go so I’m not going to celebrate too much, but there has been a bunch of good stuff during the first thousand. I’m sure we have plenty more good stuff coming up.
I didn’t exactly feel amazing during the day even though I hiked 25 miles. As has happened before and as I’m sure will happen again, SpiceRack kept me going when my energy was subpar.
The morning was alright, though the horse poop/dust/powder coated everything, from my shoes to the inside of my lungs. I did my best to wash it off in the first creek that we crossed. We walked on the horse super highway through a vast landscape along the North Fork of Buffalo Creek before crossing that to follow the South Fork.
A hot and humid climb through a burn area sucked all my energy so that by lunch, I was a dazed mess. Hydrated? Check. Enough food? Check. Tired? Check. I figured that it was probably a lack of sleep. I ate a bunch of things and drank a bunch of water just in case.
I felt a little better after lunch despite a big climb through more burn. As long as I was moving, I felt fine, if a little hazy, but whenever I stopped, to chat with a NOBO for instance, I started feeling nauseous and dizzy. Spice to the rescue! She caught up, passed, then let me ride her wake up the remaining climb, making me laugh with endless Kevin quotes from the Office. Thinking about something else besides hiking was a huge help to me, and my general nastiness cleared up, leaving just your normal, tired thru-hiker.
We took an unhelpful, but cool detour down through a short cliff, crossed a big river, then collected strawberries on the next climb. Spice played Taylor Swift’s Red album, which kept me going as I matched her step for step. She really knows how to keep me going. We took a break in a meadow, got rained on a little, then reached the top.
Fantastic views of layerd cliffs surprised me even though we’d been walking through the stuff all day. Completely different from other features on the trail, completely unexpected. Just enough sun poked through the clouds to illuminate one face, far above, as we dropped to yet another big creek.
One more splash to wet the feet, then up once more into the trees and growing darkness. Reputation was the Swift album of choice this time, and I gained a new appreciation for her angriest collection of music to date. Still, I skated behind Spice as she took the mental load, allowing me to just focus on taking each step.
We reached Upper Brooks Lake around 8:30pm, just dark enough to need headlamps to find a flat spot to camp. No bugs, but the clouds and good sense forced us to set up the tent. Ramen and chia seeds for dinner, a slowly deflating sleeping pad for bed. 1,000 miles? Eh, turns out hiking can still feel tough even after making it 1,000. Thank goodness for Spice, what would I do without her?