22.5 miles hiked + .7ish mile from hotel
Alarm goes off. I probably had 5 hours sleep at most at this point. I hit the snooze. And again. Okay, I need to get up. I drink the rest of the coke I bought, eat one of the tacos. It tastes like shit. Well, a good idea in theory. Luckily the tacos and the coke were free, the register broke at the Del Taco last night.
5:20, I’m hiking towards the road, with a little bit of nausea. Not from the period this time, but of dread: it will be all uphill today, and with a full load of water. I make my way under the interstate, cross the railroad tracks. Soon after I’m climbing, an endless train passes below.
Lucky for me it’s pretty cool this morning. And then the unexpected! Mists come in, thicker than fog, than pea soup. Is it smoke? I still have reception, I check for local fires, no dice. Well, after some hestitation, I keep going.
As I approach one of the Ridgewood, two dogs manifest out of the mist. Hellhounds! I wonder for an instant if the are coyotes or wolves. Must be feral dogs I think, only they bark. Later I look it up on the internet, they were definitely coyotes!
The mists move about, finally I rise above the cloudline. It settles into an overcast day. Somehow I make decent time. The area is pretty sparse, with burn. Eventually I get to a part that crosses a road, that can avoid possible poodle dog bush. There aren’t many opportunities to do what I call “The Real AT” here… Adventure Time! What the hell, I think. It looks at least the same length.The road proves enjoyable, with different plant life along the way than the trail had, and some better views of the mountains on the left hand side. I guess I’m not the only one as I come upon another couple with a picnic spread. They actually just bushwhacked up there for lunch. I tell them about the alternate but either they went back to the main trail or passed me during siesta, since I never saw them again. Speaking of siesta! It was a good one, and I was awakened by the sun poking out. Well, time to hike I guess.
I wanted to make it at least 20 miles and I was making good time. Around 3 I tried for another siesta, but it was short lived as the wind started to pick up with random gusts. Here and there there were some random sprinkles of precipitation. I kept on moving, finally getting to the 20 mile mark a bit before 5.
I was still feeling ok so decided to push on. There were a lot of tents anyways. I decided upon at least Guffy Campground if not the further Blue Spring Campground. Right before the Guffy camp there was a super steep uphill. Huh? I didn’t remember that on the elevation chart. Well, probably the end of my day- let’s see who’s there. It’s Scarecrow, hanging with a local guy named Henry. Henry wants to hike the PCT some day, has lived in the area a long time. He is also down for some trail magic, yay!!! “I have donuts, and blueberry muffins, and nectarines.” Awesome! Later he’s pushing drinks: “Do you want a beer, or soda, or water, or Gatorade?” What?! No one else shows up so we all regale each other with trail talk. Finally Scarecrow and I have to cut things off to get some sleep and we leave Henry to the campfire. Just a really good day, nice people, feeling good and gaining some confidence.