Day 74 (Friday, July 1): Bear Creek (mi 1250.3) to Buck’s Lake @ Big Creek Road (mi 1260.99), 10.46 miles + some road walking. (up/down: +3424/-1163ft)
Today was the day I’d been dreading. I tried to procrastinate leaving camp, but also knew I needed to start early to avoid the great. I hit trail at about 6:20 and definitely was in no rush to get to the top. I was going to go slow, take my time, and rest my hip. I ended up taking a quick sit break every 400 ft elevation gain or about 30 minutes. The breaks were fairly short as mosquitoes were quick to fester (Deet did help). Breaks were slightly longer when I’d reach a spring.
A couple people passed me on the climb, but I again didn’t see too many people surprisingly. I got to Lookout Spring, which was just about the top, at about 11:15 and took a nice hour long break to eat my second breakfast, postponing the more walking and the final ascent (at least for a couple miles). The whole morning, I also pondered what I would do when I got to Big Creek Road – a paved road leading to Quincy (town about 18 miles away with a huge music festival this weekend) or a Buck’s Lake (minimal “town” 3 miles away).
I passed some great views before the trail lead into the trees where they appeared top be logging. This jaunt was less than exiting or beautiful. Then I saw the road and stepped foot on the pavement around 1:20. I opted to get off trail and recoup my hip for a day, and started walking towards Buck’s Lake. Thankfully, about 2 minutes into my exposed and hot road walk a truck pulled over and gave me a ride. He dropped me off at the local campground, which happened to be completely full. There was another campground about 3 miles down the road, but I had no intention of walking there in the afternoon heat, let alone at all.
I walked to the Buck’s Lake Lodge to enjoy a free beer and some lunch while I decided what to do. I got lucky during lunch: I ordered a salad instead of fries, but the cook still made fried instead so I got fries AND salad! Also, a wonderful family offered to take me in. I can’t say much per request – but it was definitely a highlighted experience of the whole trip and in consequence days, you’ll find out. Also – DOGS! I was so relieved to not be hiking and enjoying some fresh fruit, recoup and company.
I know I said DOGS, but did I also mention BIRDS of PREY?!
That night I went back to the lodge for a short bit to check my email and other internet things. I was so delighted to see a handful of posts from my Ruff Trail supporters 🙂