Day 63: Saturday, July 6

Tenting at a stealth site a few miles past the Echo Lakes (PCT mi ~1098.0), walked 3.6 miles today

Woke up at 6:30 from 4.5 wretched hours of sleep on the two seat cushions, walked about a half-hour through grey deserted Berkeley, then caught the BART train and after an hour made it to Dublin/Pleasanton. Passed the time reading a highly interesting old article, that I think I read when it originally came out in 2005, from Backpacker magazine called "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Scott Williamson." Met up with my dad at 8:30 and we headed for the hills via charming Central Valley towns like Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova. Around 12 we made it to the trailhead, I fiddled with my pack a bit (I'm back to having a point and shoot digital camera but I didn't have a good place to put it), he took some pictures of me and I headed off. Only two miles up the trail was the Echo Lake store, there were some unfamiliar hikers out front but I hung out there anyway for an hour or so. 2 miles had given me the appetite/thirst for a milkshake and two sodas. At the second time of asking, the Echo Lake PO still could not find my box, but at the third time they could. I had completely forgotten that it was going to have food and new hiking clothes in it. I was already well-stocked from my grocery run yesterday, but now I have at least 5 days of food with me, more than I need. I sent home, reluctantly, the long pants and salmon shirt and traded them out for the newly arrived black running shorts and elephant-grey MHW shirt from this year's REI garage sale. A whole new me! With a lot more leg showing. I'm now in a seriously warm-weather clothing setup without much contingency for cold weather, and a lousy one (my wind pants) if the mosquitos return with the same thrust as before.

Out front of the store, some southbounder asshat who had no idea what he was talking about was comparing Portland and San Francisco and said that Portland is "more diverse" and at that point I felt it was best for everyone if I repaired to the solitude of the wilderness. Except there was no solitude, just a constant stream of day-hikers around the lakes. Was really tired of this, and tired in general, so around 4 I looked kind of far off-trail for a break spot and stumbled upon a pretty good stealth camp site. Didn't really want to hike any farther ... I've noticed lately that on days that start off in town, I have zero motivation to do miles no matter what time I get back out, but if I wake up in the woods, I am game for 25 every time. I sat in the shade and read my Kindle app for awhile and am probably going to be asleep by about 8.

Edit: I was trying to cowboy camp and I would have been asleep at 8 had that not also been the witching hour for mosquitos. Hadn't seen a single one all afternoon but they materialized from the æther around 7:45 and I had to set up my tent around 8:15 when they became unbearable.