Day 84-July 6th
Destination: Nelson Creek
Cumulative Miles: 1137
As Apricots is always pushing miles (like a dedicated thru-hiker should), we woke early and packed quickly. In our morning haste, we temporarily lost the trail and walked a quarter mile down the wrong trail. Rather than backtracking, we cut cross-country back up to the trail. Dry fallen branches snapped under our feet, leaving us with a bizarre sense of satisfaction when the larger branches snapped beneath our weight.
Once back on the trail, we passed through some beautiful fields of yellow wildflowers, likely to be in bloom only shortly after the snow melt. The tall stalks with miniature sunflower like blooms of 10-15 yellow petals sprung forth from broad green leaves. The 6-8 inch long wide leaves were covered in a fine cotton like fur, undoubtedly used for retaining morning dew. Further down we passed another plant which masters water retention with large funnel like leaves intelligently designed to capture rainfall and dew and funnel it directly to the roots.
Our hike took us up on a ridge with distant views to the approaching Sierras. From this side the snow appears to be melting, but we are still quite a distance from the high Sierras, so it's hard to get a strong gauge of what we may be facing in a couple weeks. We can rely only on the words of the northbounders we have passed along the way. So far we have passed 13, and we asked all of them to share stories of their experiences. Everything we have heard makes us thankful that we jumped, in spite of the struggles we have faced.
Late in the day snow patches appeared as we gained elevation alongside Nelson Creek. The late afternoon shadows laid across the snow causing distant patches to look like small mountain tarns through the trees. As we approached the west fork of the Nelson Creek, we found a shabby spot to lay our tent among countless twigs, sticks, and branches.
Just 27 short miles to Sierra City, where we will enjoy our first zero in over three weeks. :)
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