Jumped back on the trail yesterday in time to get in 7 miles and find a nice spot at the top of a ridge, underneath the shade of some oaks. I settled in to make some dinner as darkness fell. Unfortunately the ants fell out for their nighttime excursions as well, and their invasion was impressive. These weren’t your standard little ants, they were the type with the BIG pinchers, and large enough that if they knocked on your door on Halloween, you’d think they were a little kid in an awesome costume. XXL style ants!
I used some Deet for the first time on the hike, but not on me, on them. There was no stopping the invasion, so I ate really fast, and jumped into my bug-proof bivy, zipped in for the night & studied the maps & water report for the next day.
I slept like a baby under an amazingly bright moon, and when I woke I broke camp fast, wanting to make some miles early. I ran into Grizzly Adams, who I had met at the Saufley’s, as he was just down the trail taking a moment to survey the view of the valley below. We hiked most of the way together for the morning, grabbed some breakfast at a convenience store (he was craving a soda, myself a big cold milk), and stopped for a siesta at “The Hikers Oasis.” The Andersons, trail angels that live up the road a ways, have made a little shelter amongst the scrubby trees, and keep it stocked with sodas, beer, campy skeletons and pink flamingoes. The “Oasis” is a popular cache along the trail. The flies were terrible, so Grizz set up his tent, and I used my hat & bandana to keep the buggers off me.
I had already figured on not stopping at the Anderson’s based on the atmosphere there (more ‘party’ focus than other places), but got sucked in by the promise of fresh nachos. Grizz & I got to the highway just as a ride to the Andersons pulled up. I stayed the night, ate a lot, and was out as soon as I could be the next day, falling in with Stickman & making a solid 17 miles. My feet were killing me by the time we set up camp. I made dinner, set out my bivy, and slept soundly on a bed of pine needles.