May 8, day 6
Last couple days have been good hiking. Pain free? Nope. Easy? Definitely not. But the mileage has been good (18 yesterday, 15 today) and yesterday saw the troop straggle into the little touristy town of Julian. “Moms Pie Shop” offered up free slices of pie & a scoop of ice cream to every PCT thru-hiker, which Zino & I inhaled. I chose the pecan pie, insanely good! A quick lunch, snack shopping to fill in the gaps for the next 2 days trek into Warner Springs where my resupply box is waiting, and a few phone calls, and we were off to the trail again to set up camp for the night.
Also had the first two hitches of the trek: Thank you Sandy for stopping to pick up Zino & I & take us into Julian, and thank you “Gnarly” for the ride back to the trail in your beautiful ’91 Volkswagen 4×4 Westfalia! (when you’re ready to sell her, let me know…PCT discount??).. Camped down in a river wash that was chock- full of spider holes. Tarantulas. And there I was with a ground sheet, open tarp & sleeping quilt (where it’s essentially a blanket, very open). I could have sworn I felt something underneath me in the middle of the night trying to get out…sorry, buddy, you’ll have to use another exit!
Today was by far the toughest day so up to this point. The first 4 hours of hiking were straight up the side of the mountain. Temperatures were cool, clouds hovering over the far ridge, but the wind was brutal. Mostly coming up the canyons, but a couple came down & made me nearly lose my balance. My body was hurting, especially my ankles & I became gimpier as the day wore on. All in all very frustrating. The water cache at Third Gate was dry (over 70 gallons all used by the time we got there, bummer! But it’s amazing trying to think exactly how they get almost 80 gallons of bottled water way up there…very dedicated trail angels. Even though i wasn’t able to enjoy fresh water, thank you to each person who makes spots like 3rd Gate happen…truly helpful & giving people! See video). Right now we’re at mile 95, and just 14 miles until Warner Springs! Very excited about that! I’m going to take a “zero” there & let my body recover from the first 109 miles. (a “zero” is a day where you hike exactly ZERO miles…absolutely a glorious thought right now!) I’m presently camped next to the trail, under my tarp which I’ve staked & stoned down fir protection from the wind & the possible rain tonight. It’s only 6:30, but I’ve cooked dinner, cleaned my feet, washed up a little, set up camp, studied the maps & set my alarm for 5:00am. The suns still up but I’m about to go to sleep as soon as I finish writing this entry.