Today feels like a blur. Maybe because of the heat or maybe because the heat was really my only enemy. Sleeping last night was difficult to say the least. I usually use my tent bag stuffed with my clothes as a pillow, but since everything was wet, I couldn’t do that. The wind continued violently thrashing my tent the entire night as well. You know how a flag flaps and snaps and buzzed in high winds? Tents do that too, except instead of being next to or under it, you’re surrounded by it on all sides, trying to sleep. I got up to pee at some point and noticed that I wasn’t the only crazy person camping on the ridge- there was one other tent among the scrub. My watch beeped at midnight and I had yet to sleep a wink. I dug out my earplugs and wondered why I hadn’t thought of them before.
All of my clothes were still wet this morning but at least my tent was dry. I opened the door of my tent and watched the sun rise over the neighboring mountains while I ate my granola and noticed that the other tent was gone already. I wondered who it may have been and tried to figure out how to deal with my wet clothes. Have you ever crawled out of bed at 6am and put on a freezing cold, wet sports bra outdoors while the wind whips around you? I have. I decided to hike in my fleece (dry) and my wind pants (also dry) and hang all of my wet clothes off of my pack to catch the morning sun and hopefully dry out so that I could change into them before it got too hot. Ever hiked with your underwear hanging off the side of your pack, along with most of your other clothes? I have.
I met two guys (the Erics) from Washington state along the long descent from Comb’s peak to the next water source. I spoke with them briefly at their (much better) campsite before moving on, and realized that even at 8am, the fleece and wind pants had to go. I changed into my still-slightly-damp-and-lovely-smelling clothes and trudged on. The Erics caught up to me and hiked together briefly, leapfrogged a bit, then I was alone for the rest of the morning.
I caught up to them at the water source which was a really terrible-looking spring. The nearby tank was empty so we had to scramble down a very steep, crumbly path to get very yellow water that tasted strongly like dirt even after being filtered. There was shade here and the sun was high in the sky so I decided to relax at the spring for lunch. Koolaid, Big Money and Hot Takes showed up and we all shared our lunch hour. When I was finished, I set out on my own, knowing they would all pass me soon anyway.
Back on the trail, I met Cyndi from France. I had actually met her in Warner Springs but didn’t recognize her in all her gear. She has been battling an issue with her heels/Achilles tendon so moves pretty slow but still does good miles. She has traveled all over the world and is generally a nomad, saying her tent is where she feels most at home. We hiked together for almost 3 hour before I succumbed to the heat. It got brutal, and everything after the spring was uphill, intensifying the sun’s impact. I stopped for shade. Then I stopped again. And again. Finally I just laid down on a rock and waited for my brain to stop boiling. I finally was able to make the uphill push to the next water cache.
There was plenty of water at the cache and everyone was there, lounging in the shade. I dumped what was left of my dirt-flavored spring water and filled up. Two miles later I arrived at Mary’s Place.
Mary is a trail angel who owns property adjacent to the trail. She allows hikers to camp in a designated area, hand fills a 500 gallon water tank, and creates a theme for the area. She also has a “little library”, filled with books, poetry and postcards. One of my favorite books was in the library, The Snow Child, so I had to flip through for nostalgia.
I had my most favorite trail meal thus far for dinner: Tomato and Oregano Orzo with Soy Sausage. I wasn’t sure how this one would come out but it was the BEST. Broccoli and tomatoes and carrots and spices.. orzo works well on trail. I did some yoga, used a cork ball to roll out my tired feet and legs, and talked at length to a hiker named Ryan (Endless) about books and movies. There were a bunch of other hikers here so it was a later night than usual. It also happened to be KoolAid’s birthday, so his trail family same to him and celebrated.
It is really nice to be in this place with so many people, all having actively chosen to be doing this big thing. Every person here had a dream and took the steps to make that dream a reality, many putting “real life” on hold to do it. We may not all agree on everything, but we do agree that there are things in life worth breaking the cycle for. Things more important than the paycheck and the 9-5.
Trail magic: 0 (although Mary’s Place is pretty magical)
Hiked with: Cyndi, mostly alone
Camped with: Cyndi, Endless, Laurent, BigMoney, KoolAid, Professor, Hot Takes, the Erics, others I don’t know.