The Greenbelly hit my stomach a little hard today. Yesterday I absolutely loved the small lunchable bar. Today for some reason it just felt heavy. I took a few more drinks and we headed back down the trail.
Lunch was a good rest but not far down the trail I could start feeling the afternoon fatigue setting into my legs. The pack, heat, sweat, and the constant up and downs even though they were no where what they were the day before, had taken a bit out of me. Hikers that were passing the opposite direction said it really did level off soon. I kept pushing on.
On a short break I met up with some hikers heading in the same direction and we pushed on for awhile. Bessie was eager to keep up with them and it was nice conversation for awhile. We approached a bluff where trail lead to the edge with another foot and a half wide path, I looked down as we had already started crossing and noticed I had put Bessie’s lead around my wrist and then the hiking pole wrist strap over it. Not the safest idea unless I felt like a slide down the 45 degree sand bluff to the river. I started fussing with my pole strap which was about stuck to my skin from the sweat. Not paying as much attention to the trail, Bessie took a tug because I had slowed while concentrating on the strap and I tripped on a small root sticking out.
Walking on bluffs and hills like this if you are going to fall, fall to the upside. I could have probably saved myself but at the moment decided falling toward the upside may be better than possibly saving myself for a second but falling down the bluff and sliding down to the river. I twisted sideways and sat myself down. My right calf immediately knotted like a hamstring in the middle of the night. The couple in front of us turned to check if I was alright. My ankles were fine, it was just the knot. I told them I would be alright but needed to work the knot out and they could go on without me.
I worked out the knot after five minutes, stretched a little more and continued on. The trail continued along closer to the river today than yesterday making for better views.
We continued on with a bit of a steep climb at “the waterfall”. I thought I had taken a picture for what may be my last however I apparently forgot while watching some kids scramble up the steep hill grabbing onto roots to pull themselves up the trail on the other side. Bessie and I proceeded across the bridge and I climbed up. Fortunately by this time Bessie was learning I can’t climb or descend as fast as she can and would pause every few feet while I caught up on the lead.
Continuing on we came along this interesting rock “wedged” in with the sand in the stream. Part of the glacial till.
It was getting later in the afternoon. I kept feeling like we should see the bridge at anytime or at least find the last campsite on the MRT side of the loop. We came across a stream and I decided it was time to top off the water. I don’t think I have ever seen Bessie lay down for a nap faster.
We pushed on. I finally saw camp sites 1C, 1B, 1A, and then there it was, the bridge. I quickly thought back. The last several sites were already taken by locals coming in after the 4th. Sites are free along this trail if you’re willing to hike to them and “rough” it, so it becomes a popular weekend destination. I asked a couple of people coming over the bridge if they knew of any sites back on the NCT side.
My legs were done for the day. I knew I had about 4 miles back to the Explorer, but that last 4 miles was a long 500′ elevation climb out of the valley then a 4 hour drive home. Fortunately someone said there was a small site off the NCT trail that I found on my AllTrails app. We crossed the bridge and found the stub trail leading off to the camp.
This campsite was fortunately empty. I quickly set up camp and took a quick splash in the river. We found another great site right on the river and a small feeder stream on the side. All the wet clothes were hung up. Anything I could get a little dryer before the climb tomorrow would help.
We settled in, I had a little bit of dinner. Over the day I had become dehydrated it was apparent now. The calf cramping up was probably the first sign. I sipped water all evening until the sun set. It had been 90 and humid the first day and about 85 today and still humid. Even drinking over 5 liters of water today I ended up dehydrated.
Bessie and I crawled in the tent and watched the trees with the fly off the tent until we fell asleep.