Day 76: Friday, July 19

In the Super 8 in Snoozinville, CA (left PCT at mi 1377.5), walked 26.2 miles today

Woke up way too goddamn early, at 5:20, was hiking by 5:50. Kristin's goal was to meet me at Old Station at 6pm so not wanting to take chances I decided to torture myself by starting so early. It ended up being unnecessary and I took a siesta at 1pm when I knew I was going to make the 26 miles comfortably by the evening. The day can be divided into the time before that siesta, when I was barely conscious, and the time after it, when I was relatively refreshed. Just about the only thing I remember from the not-conscious part was passing by a thermal lake at 6:30 am (see pictures). The rest of the morning was a total drag, I was too tired to think or converse with the few people I saw.

Post-nap, I felt normal again and would've positively skipped through the last 8 miles had it not been approximately 200 degrees outside. Some of the trail was shaded but there was also a lengthy (10-12 miles) stretch of burnt area from a huge wildfire last year, and the sun was fairly merciless there. Listened to music for the last few miles and got into Old Station around 5:15 to find a passel of hikers hanging out at the one shady picnic table in front of the store. Bandleader, whom I hadn't seen since Mammoth, was there, as were about 5 new faces plus a few others I recognized. Got my cold draank on (Gatorade and Mtn Dew, nothing stronger) and waited for Kristin.

She rolled in at about 6:45 having driven from Eugene after a half-day at the U. It's worth pointing out I was about the dirtiest I've been on the entire hike, and hence maybe my whole life, at this point ... 4 days of fine dry dust and ash, both volcanic and wildfire-borne, had glommed onto my legs and feet and they were pretty much black. She had my new shoes and socks so I tossed the old ones in the trash on the spot. Got into her car and drove east to suddenly Susanville, where we had booked a reasonably-priced motel room for the night. We got here and discovered why the motel rooms were so cheap: it is an arrestingly, laughably ugly town (think Klamath Falls but bleaker (that's not a compliment)) but we don't care too much, it's nice to see each other and we've got the car to get out and about from here tomorrow. Ate dinner at the main highlight of the city, the Lassen Ales brewpub, then retired for the night. Don't know what tomorrow holds, but it will be a zero and it's safe to say we're GingTFO of Susanville during the day.