Greetings from the trail,
It turns out that I did only need 1 more day to reach Christina Lake, and the trail was kinder (though not by much). I skipped my journal entry yesterday, and I think you'll soon see why.
The day started as expected: uphill. I climbed and climbed, taking many long rests along the way. After climbing up very steep grades and back and forth on switchbacks all morning from just after 6:00am to nearly noon, I finally reached the summit. All that climbing brought me a grand total of 10km. After that, I was looking forward to fopping at another rec sit ~8km ahead according to my map.
I reached the spot where the map showed the rec site about 2 hours later. The climb down was a welcome change from toiling uphill, but still wore on my feet. I did not see the campsite, but continued, hopeful that it was just around the next bend. After 2 more kilometers, I was convinced I'd missed it. A sign along the road read 12km, which I took to mean the distance to Christina Lake. At least I got that right.
After another 3 hours of walking plus a few short breaks, I was finally in Christina Lake. I found a lousy campground nearby and bought a couple of cold drinks at the Esso station. I set up camp in the massive heat of the evening. In total, I travelled over 32km over top of a freakin' mountain from 6:05am to 4:55pm.
At least the campground had a decent shower. I went in for a cool shower to relieve the heat and stress of the day. It was nice to cool off, but I could barely stand up in the stall - my feet were so tired.
After a decent night's sleep it was clear that my feet were still recovering from the previous day. I let myself sleep in a little longer than usual and trotted off to have a restaurant breakfast. It was nothing fancy, but it was good to feel full.
I returned to camp and packed up, feeling quite confident I could find a better place. A kilometer or two down the road I found just what I was looking for. For $10 I'm staying in a site just above the campground's river beach area. The swimming is excellent, with cliff jumping available across the river (my favourite).
See you on the trail,