I got moving early this morning, heeding a warning from Patience about high temperatures today. Though still chilly, it was much less frigid overnight, allowing for a good night’s sleep. It was already a comfortable temperature at 5am, making it easier to get out of my sleeping bag, and it was nice to see the sun rise over the valley while I packed up and ate my oatmeal.
I was on the trail by 6am and enjoyed the gentle downhill ridge walk as it meandered through pine forest and rocky crags. I woke up still angry about getting left behind AGAIN but the pounding of my feet on the trail eventually entranced me, helping me to let it go. I messaged Splash last night and it is doubtful that I’ll be able to catch them. Maybe in Agua Dulce. By around 8:30am, I had completely worked through it and was almost to my next water source.
The water in the upcoming sections is scarce so there are alternatives to the natural streams and springs. This water source was a spigot coming out of the ground at a day use recreational area next to a fire station. Sometimes hikers order pizza and have it delivered here, but it was too early in the day. The trash receptacles were completely packed with obvious thru hiker garbage and there was no TP in the privy. It was already getting very hot and it was tempting to rest in the shade, but I signed the logbook, filled my water and continued.
Two horny toads duking it out on the trail
There was a large climb coming out of this spot- I had to go back up even higher than I had camped last night, except now the sun was beating down. I climbed a good way and then found a shady spot under a bush where I could cool down. A few minutes later, another hiker comes around the corner looking totally beat. I hadn’t met him before but had seen him at the water source. This was Bandaid, and he sat down with me in the shade.
We chatted for longer than I would have rested on my own and decided to continue moving and chatting. We got through the rest of the climb (with plenty of shade breaks) and made it to the next water source around 1pm. There were nearly a dozen hikers stewn about, all trying to hide from the brutal sun. Eva, Jailbreak, Captain Hook, and a number of other hikers that I knew were here. We went a few dozen yards up the trail to find more shade and had lunch.
It turns out that Bandaid started the trail with his 12 year old daughter (trail name: Tonks) a month before I started. They encountered terrible weather and treacherous snow fields. She ended up slipping on Mt San Jacinto (just like I did on Baden-Powell) and wrenching her knee. She wanted to summit anyway and they hiked on for a number of miles before he took her home. She might come back to the trail later when she heals. Kid sounds like a badass.
We continued on after the heat of the day, a campground with a privy as our goal for the day. Bandaid’s storytelling kept me laughing and helped keep my mood up despite the heat and the hills. We made it to the campground and found Eva and her group already there, along with Tuts, who has already hiked the Appalachian Trail and other long trails. We pitched our tents and though I was tired and my ankles were hurting, I was in a great place mentally.
I found an open picnic table and did a full 30 minute yoga session on it while the sun went down. It felt so good to take that time and take care of my body. When I was finishing up, Jailbreak came up to chat- I didn’t even see him hike in. He is trying to do so many miles per day but his body isn’t cooperating so I showed him some stretches. He hiked on and I headed back to my tent. Today was such an improvement over yesterday and I am looking forward to hiking with Bandaid again tomorrow.
Trail magic: 0
Hiked with: Bandaid, about half alone
Camped with: Bandaid, Tuts, Adam, Eva and her group