After spending the previous afternoon and evening hanging out with my good friend/comrade Pablo, he dropped me off at the trailhead outside of Shasta. It was great to see him - I spent many years previous doing community organizing campaigns with him so we share a remarkable set of memories and history. He is also one of my mentors.
Just a few minutes after I was dropped off at the trailhead the hot, muggy weather began to permeate into my body. It was going to be another hot day. As I was doing a final check on all my gear and getting my pack on, a car pulls up and out jumps none other than, Scotty! I swear I run into this dude at the most random locations/times, often going weeks without seeing him. He got a hitch from Shasta that apparently took him half of the day. Sometimes getting a hitch can be a real bitch. Regardless, it's always funny how we seem to run into each other. He is way ahead of the rest of the Lazy Fucks, trying to make sure he gets to Canada before he runs out of time and has to fly back to Denmark. When we began hiking up the trail just a few hundred feet, we saw Cameron (Bear Box) - another dude I thought was long gone. I had not seen him since Bishop.
The sweltering heat really began to work its toll on me just a few miles into the hike. At first I thought it wasn't going be an issue. But then slowly I began to feel like hell - sweating beyond control, light headed, dizzy, and nauseous. All sure signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration. I don't like to have either if I can avoid it. Mentally, I really just wasn't in the game either - feeling generally homesick. I stopped for water as much as I could, but the sources around here are a lot like the desert.
The trail went through a good amount of forest and the walking was easy enough. Then I hit a long ascent up the mountain and around the Castle Crags, which are absolutely beautiful. The climb continued for 7 miles or so, all while I battled this weird crappy slightly dehydrated feeling I was having. I wondered for a bit if I had maybe drank some bad water - one of the sources I filtered from had borderline standing water and it was a bit smelly. But I had no choice but to drink. To compound this, the second half of the hike up the mountain was riddled with weird pain in my right knee. I have never dealt with any issues in this knee.
I hit the last water source of the climb which was still several miles below where I would try to stay for the night. I filled up and carried 4 liters, not knowing how far I would need to go the following morning to the next source. I finished the climb, and got to a beautiful cliff overlooking the crags and Mt. Shasta, which was covered in hazy smoke from all the fires nearby. I met Dirty Avocado and Bamboo. They invited me to join them for the night. By now it was just about dark and I was in a lot of pain. My knees don't feel the same, and my right knee especially hurts. It feels like the pain is a precursor to an IT band injury. Yay. Been there before and I don't want to deal with another injury. Most of the day's hike dealt me soreness but I pushed it into the back of my head, hoping that it won't progress into something more serious. If I have to get off trail because of an injury again, Im quitting. I'm just at that point.
Scotty eventually rolled up after dark. We all cowboy camped under the stars and moonlight. It was very warm tonight too. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's sunrise.