Last night slept at the new ranger station at Mill Station (where the Station Fire swept through in 2009). The station is still being built, so John (whose trail name is vacillating between ‘Leader,’ and ‘Captain Crunchberry’), Bonnfire, Toby (who is now “Tony Wan Kenobi), Sprinkles, Zoop & I stayed inside the still-under-construction building. I chose a great stack of plywood, and found some cardboard to lay my sleeping pad on. I semi-supplemented the setup with a large sheet of bubblewrap, but the bubbles popped pretty easily. Zoop said that at different times through the night he’d hear a “pop!pop!pop!” from my bubbles, & it kept making him laugh. But it was a great night of sleep, woke up at 5:00am, and had put in 18 miles by about 3:30. By that time, I had rolled into a great spot to camp, with a water cache, and decided I’d tackle the rest of the 16 miles to Agua Dulce tomorrow.
A lot of people have commented negatively about the areas I’ve been walking through the last week. I’ve heard hikers saying the areas aren’t as pretty since the fires that ravaged them in 2009, but I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, there’s less shade, more burned trees, and it’s very exposed & hot. There’s more trail slides (rock, sand, mud) which make hiking a problem sometimes, as well as downed trees across the trail…but it’s still an area with a lot of new growth, amazingly vibrant wildflowers of all different colors, and even new plants that haven’t bloomed in the area for decades (according to Ranger Todd).
Tommorrow we make our charge on Agua Dulce, so it’s bedtime. 🙂