We finished up Hat Creek Rim this morning. As usual, not as bad as the hype suggests. Sweet 16 and I left before six, when Microburst was in "looking around and blinking" stage. Good thing the fastest hiker isn't also the earliest riser! It was cool hiking along the rim, scrub and sage and high desert ecosystem on gently rolling flatness to the right, cliffs and incredible volcanic views just a few feet to the left. The Lassen/Shasta area was supposedly part of a huge volcano way back when. I think we were walking on the edge of the old caldera, it looked like an enormous crater of black pumice. Micro said the topography we could see down below us looked like long overgrown lava flows.
At "Cache 22," the water cache on road 22 that breaks the 29.4 mike waterless (unless you want to drink heavily polluted PG&E water) stretch into manageable 12 and 17 mile stretches, Sweet 16 and I were greeted by hikers from previous years who gave us cold Arizona Ice Tea. Ah, delicious! The register had some funny comments, notably somebody calling the hiking of Hat Creek Rim, "quite a rimjob," and Paparazzi half an hour behind t h a t c h who was trying to catch up to Paparazzi, who also mentioned he wanted "Gnar and three girls to catch up soon." Sorry Pops, we got sick.
After Micro caught up at lunch, 16 announced that she needed to donat least 26 miles per day to see her brother on leave and get on with her life in a timely manner. Micro and I decided to try to keep up as best we can, we can't stand the idea of Mexico or Bust breaking up. At that point, Micro said, "We're like the Odd Couple without you!" and tried to hum the theme song, although it was the B*witched song that came out instead.
Once we got off the rim, it got really really hot and our breeze died out. That was rough. Sweet 16 developed some weird rash on her lower legs, we think it's heat rash. We stopped for dinner at the fish hatchery (using bathroom water, not fish poop water). While there, Micro and I finally went over the food that my mom had sent in a package to Old Station. Her parents have been sending us expensive Mountain House and other freeze dried food in packages, and my mother has been sending us really delicious homemade food and staples in hers. We agreed that we'd both be happier splitting and sharing the booty than sticking to the cuisine of our individual parent's choice, which works great as long as we go through and split up packages before we resupply and pack up. In Old Station, I didn't have baggies to divide everything so we could go halvsies, so I split up as best I could, trying to divide weight, volume, and nutrition equally, with the intent that we'd go over it before we packed it all up and share once on trail. We never did go over it together, which has led to much misunderstanding and friction. We finally went over the communal food before dinner, and I really hope that was the end of the food fights.
At the hatchery, I also lost the silk mini hankerchief my mother had JUST sent me, the second she's made at my request and the third I've lost. Hiking the three miles to camp, once I'd realized my mistake and hoping that one of the other girls had picked it up, I started to have a breakdown. Suddenly, sniffling my way along the trail, I was the lamest adult ever for losing something three times in a row, I was a terrible daughter for losing the hand-made with love gift from my mother after hardly 24 hours of use, incapable of sharing and communicating about the delicious and nutritious bounty that she so generously and lovingly puts together and sends to us. Once I caught up to Sweet 16 at camp, I asked if she'd accidentally picked it up, and when she said no, I broke down and threw a ten minute temper-tantrum directed at myself. I ended up getting a hold of myself by blowing up my sleeping pad with deep, calming breaths.
Shortly thereafter, once it had gotten dark, we could hear Micro calling out on the trail, much like I had been doing half an hour prior. We hollered right back at her, it was like "Marco Polo" except it was "Micro Hey-o," and she didn't hear us. She rolled in pissed. She thought (how, I do not know) we were only hiking two miles before camping, and hung out with Paul and Jaybird 'til an hour before dark. As she hiked past the two-mile mark, she thought she heard a cougar, and it scared her.
"You know I would wait for YOU if it got dark!"
"It wasn't dark when I got here!"
Now I understand her fear, somehow my alignment and the acoustics of our little clearing make all of Sweet 16's snores and movements sound louder and from the opposite direction. The first little growl-snuffle I woke everybody up for and made me shake for five minutes as I typed.