Adam hugged me goodbye at the Ides Cove trailhead and I walked north towards Mt. Linn and the adventure of the Bigfoot Trail. Butterflies sucked nectar from flowers in the dry creeks along the path, as well as fluttering in my stomach- I was nervous about the unknowns of this trail. I was nervous about being alone in a very wild place, nervous about how my out of shape body would adjust to this rugged path, nervous about how the water sources on this drought stricken trail would hold up in the July heat… My list of worries fueled those stomach butterflies, but the jitters soon eased as I left the trail for some cross country scramble up to the summit of Mt. Linn and the stand of gnarled foxtail pines on her saddle. From the summit I could see across the Yolla Bolly mountains towards my home town of Willits, I could see the Central Valley and Lassen to the east, Snow Mountain Wilderness to the south, and the land of Bigfoot to the north. I realized this place is vast and wild, but I belong here. The Foxtail Pines were the first big tree species of the 32 conifers types along the route that I stopped and admired. I’d seen these beautiful ancient trees in the Sierra, but never before in my home range of the Yolla Bolly. Standing in the fragrant shade of their bristly branches I wondered what they had seen pass by over their thousand plus years of living in the Yolla Bolly. Later the afternoon of day one I came to D camp spring, labeled as cool clear water in the guidebook I was saddened to find a small stagnant pool of tepid water. The butterflies in my stomach flew into a frenzy again- would I die of dehydration on this trip? I tanked up and was thankful there was water at all, but began looking at the water sources and maps with suspicion. To add to my anxiety my left knee started acting up later in the day, making it quite painful to walk downhill. The pond I hoped to camp near was dry, and the trail vanished for miles under fallen trees and regrowth from a forest fire. As darkness began to fall I came to a dry creek bed and discovered a small puddle of polliwog stirred water and a flat place to call home for the night. My first day on the BFT had been an anxious one, but in the end I had seen beautiful and remote country and discovered what I needed, water and wild space. My fingers were crossed that my anxiety was for nothing and my homesickness would fade the further I flew into the trai.
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