I've been slowing down, and as my cruising speed dropped, so has my morale. I've felt like the permanent caboose to our party, and a liability rather than a teammember. Yesterday, I managed to book it once I was pissed off. Today, I was determined to maintain that pace while detaching from the emotions that allowed it. It worked! Mind over matter, I set and mostly maintained my pace at a good clip today. I'm just as sore and tired as usual now; but in much better mental health. I'm crossing my fingers that I can maintain tomorrow, and so on and so forth until it is natural habit.
We ate lunch at a stream in a deep ravine. To get down required mad skills that neither Sweet 16 or I have when carrying water bottles; we both ended up sliding down the mud on our butts. While I was down there, my feet singing the praises of freedom and cold water, I tried to wash the mud off. As it kept flaking off of me, I just kept stripping more layers off. Micro looked down to see me completely topless and splashing around. As I tried to clamber up the steep muddy walls, I ended up holding my water bladder (now dubbed "the dead baby" due to how awkward it is to hold and carry) between my teeth so I could get muddy all over again on all fours, in shorts and a sports bra. I felt like a barbaric wildwoman, but in a good way.
Later, crossing a bridge on a short road walk near a reservoir and campground (with FLUSHING toilets, so worth the walk), I peered over the edge to see Pika and Catch-Up taking a river bath. "I was washing my feet, and then my legs, and as I worked my way up, suddenly the shorts and panties came off too!" she later described to me. "Hi!" awkward wave.
Now we're camped five miles from Sierra City with Paparazzi, Pika, and Catch-Up. Tomorrow: early hike, breakfast, post office, resupply, maybe laundry and showers, lunch, and ten miles to camp. We turn and burn!
- Typoed on my iPhono