Day 66: Livin’ On A Prayer

Mile reached: 1328.7 (+35.1 + 3.2 bonus)

High: Woah, we’re half way there!

Low: It was so hot (109° in Red Bluff), and there were lengthy water carries.

Something I learned from Scooby-Doo that is in fact false: Moss does not only grow on the north side of trees or even just preferentially. The terrain and local factors significantly affect it.

Since I was only halfway up this brutal climb and I knew it would get hot, I was on trail early in the day. It was so much better than the previous evening. Namely, it was genuinely cold in the morning! Once the trail topped out, I saw a sign saying the summit was only a tenth of a mile away. How could I resist?

After letting some of the best parts of the morning slip away on the summit, I continued on in the quickly warming day. The terrain very suddenly became ranchland, and dirt roads frequently intersected the trail. This also made it possible for some dumbass kids on dirt bikes to make it up there and fire handguns from the road.

Where are the cows?
The kids were shooting over this way…
Exhibit A: I’m looking at the south side of the trees.

A little before lunchtime I finally reached it! You might want to sit down for this one. The Butte County highpoint! It’s what is called a liner i.e. the highpoint is not a mountain but just some unnoteworthy point on the side of a hill. County highpoint in the bag, I proceeded onwards into increasingly volcanic terrain. Unfortunately, water also started to be harder to come by, and the last source before a 12 mile dry stretch was 0.3 miles off trail.

Can you spot the highpoint marker?

The day culminated with a climb up the shoulder of Butt Mountain. Since it is a P2k, there was no way I could resist tagging it. My effort was rewarded with gusty winds and stunning views on the summit, but I couldn’t enjoy it for long. The sun was setting, and I still needed to reach it. A few miles further down the trail I finally crossed it! The halfway point. Rather than fall to my knees and weep tears of joy, I felt an odd yet calm satisfaction. I still wanted to push on, the marker didn’t seem like a big deal, but I was glad that I had made it.

The ridge to Butt Mountain
Looking upon Lassen and friends to the north
I made it! Am I getting thinner?

The sun set, and I hiked on completely in the dark. Namely, I needed to shave off a few more miles to ease logistical problems for the next day. When I was ready to camp, there wasn’t a great site, but I found a clearing among copious amounts of blowdown. The bugs didn’t seem that bad, so I made the decision to cowboy camp.

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