It only occurred to me when I started looking for a campsite tonight that it would be my first night camping alone. When I woke up this morning Wendy had already packed up her tent and left. I told her I was going to have a slow morning and she wanted to beat the heat. Smart girl!!
I was up by about 8:30am but by the time I’d cooked up oats and coffee and enjoyed the early morning sun while packing up, it was 9:45am by the time I left camp and already the temperature was getting hot. My feet were feeling pretty good but my lower back and knees started to hurt a little. I guess something will always hurt during this hike. Dr Sole gave me a magic green potion to put on my knees which really helped. I think they use it on horses so it’s pretty heavy duty!
The best part of the day was early on crossing Agua Caliente Creek five times. I found the best spot, took off my shoes and waded in the cool water before filtering enough water to fill my 6 litre capacity. I ate lunch there in the shade before heading on, this is where the walk became very challenging. The extra weight and extreme heat were a bad combination, plus the trail went up, up and up for the next 7 miles. It was a good thing I did take the extra water because a lovely girl I met who was day hiking called Katie had run out on her way back to her car. Then later on while I was at camp I met another hiker ‘Flipper’ who had also run out 3 miles from the next source.
The views were great but I really struggled after four days off the trail. My back wasn’t doing well and at one point I put everything down and just sprawled out on the trail. I stayed in that position until 4pm after only doing about 8 miles. Another mile up I almost stopped to camp except something scurried across the ground and after almost stepping on a snake on the trail today I decided it wasn’t a good spot. This ended up being a good decision as I was able to walk another 4-5 miles before finding a really good place to camp.
While I was making dinner two hikers passed my tent and we chatted briefly. I wasn’t able to catch up to Wendy but didn’t really expect to after at least 4 hikers passed me today. Ah well no rush. I had mac and cheese tonight and if anything, at least my trail appetite is in good shape. I’m planning to make a very early start tomorrow morning. Ill set the alarm for 4:30am and see how I go. Even after training in the Australian summer heat I’m still struggling with the temperatures out here.
Pac Man is still in Idyllwild waiting for his new water filter and Chris is still in Warner Springs waiting for the post office to open tomorrow so he can get his resupply. There’s so many people on the trail now. I even bumped into another of Dr Sole’s patients ‘Road Runner’ and her husband today. I now understand what they mean when they talk about hiking community. Below I’ve tried adding a panoramic picture of the view from my campsite and also a photo of my new pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters so you can see what they look like!