I slept terribly last night. In Seiad Valley, I was able to get ibuprofen not laced with sleeping meds (unfortunately, I had to buy them in individual $0.57 two-packs of brand-name Advil, UFO shaped and sugar-coated: yum!). Without my triple-shot of sleeping pills, I laid awake for a long time, wondering if I had made myself dependent on Advil PM. I was hearing suspicious rustling in every gust if wind through the leaves: was paranoia a withdrawal side effect? Then my skin started crawling: was I a full blown meth-head now? No, I had ants crawling all over me. It was awful, I moved my whole sleeping situation into the middle of the trail, and slept in my windbreaker and bugnet.
The rest of the day just drug on forever. I divide the day into two distinct halves: contouring through chaparral in the intense sun and heat, and going along, beside, and occasionally over a ridgeline as a storm just ahead grew more and more threatening. Unfortunately, during that first part of the day, I grew cocky and lazy, and decided that hiking five miles on a liter was better than walking 0.1 miles off-trail to get another half or full liter (during cool mornings, a liter will get me seven or so miles, but only three during the heat of the day). Hiking to the next spring I was rationing my water, and grew more tired, then headachy, and finally sick. Off and on since Old Station, I've felt ill after eating or drinking- that was happening worse than ever. I was dehydrated, the conservative hiker FAILED.
Princess caught up to and camped with us a few miles short of our most ambitious mileage goal for the day. She is a loud, friendly, sweet, and very gutsy hiker. We really enjoyed her company.