In the Sierra, my feet were wet an estimated average of 10 hours per day. That destroyed one pair of shoes way too early and the replacement shoes tore up my feet.
Also, I left the Sierra exhausted. Mentally and physically, I was simply tired. Entering Northern California, at first I had a lot of joy because my feet were dry all day. Then, I found that my exhaustion didn't let me control my mind the way I normally can.
A different kind of beauty, and with dry feet, I was happy.
Negative thoughts stemming from a personal issue took root in my head and filled my thoughts ... all day long ... everyday. The only hikers I saw were those who had flipped and were hiking South, so I couldn't find anyone to hike with and distract me from these thoughts. Also, I found that I was especially emotionally fragile. The smallest thing could set me off.
For days this went on. My mileage was not what I thought it should be. I found myself in a mental low that I now call my mental death spiral. I did manage to put the personal issue out of my head for a couple days, and the Braatens (helped heal my feet) and Burney Mountain Guest Ranch (fed me 10 plates of good food for $12) gave me a couple bright spots. At Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, I weighed myself and saw that I probably weighed a measly 145 lb. However, it all came flooding back.
I tried to think of my friend Rat, as that normally cheers me up. However, I realized that the last time I heard from her was before the chest deep stream crossing that took me off my feet. The negative thoughts over the previous days made me freak out worried that Rat ran into trouble on that stream crossing. That evening, Rat texted me, telling me where she was (past the stream crossing of concern), how she was enjoying her hike (that made me happy), and asked me how I was doing mentally. I vented to her and that appeared to be what I needed to get past the mental death spiral.
It also helped that Northern California started to really shine. I worked through my personal issue. The situation has not actually changed, but I have come to peace with it. In the end, I needed to go through this time to get to where I'm at today.
Mt. Shasta helped me enjoy hiking again.
I enjoyed my time between Dunsmir and the Oregon border.
The best part of Northern California was two days of hiking with views of Mt. Shasta and never having to drink from any water source that wasn't a spring where I could see the source.