Today my motivation for getting out of my sleeping bag was the thought of the Deep Creek Hot Springs 10 miles up the trail. I had a slow morning and made coffee and oats which gave me lots of energy for the first five miles. Then my poor feet started to hurt both where my blisters are and also underneath.
The trail followed the creek from above and we could see so many beautiful swimming holes along the way. It was hot by 9am so the temptation to jump in the water was huge. Two miles in we passed the 300 mile mark. The last 100 miles seemed to fly by this time!
It seemed to take forever but finally Spoon Man and I reached the hot springs. Both Butters and he have done this part of the PCT before so they knew how good it was going to be. It certainly didn’t disappoint. There was a huge swimming hole which was fresh and cool and then a number of hot pools surrounding it. We jumped in off the rocks which I had to psych myself into and then bathed in the hot pool which my feet and muscles loved. I could have fallen asleep in there.
We spent 5 hours there as the sun was scorching and too hot for hiking. There were a lot of other hikers there, some had been camped out for multiple days. It would have been tempting to stay overnight but we wanted to make another 10 miles and pressed on around 5pm.
I was in the lead when I came across my first rattle snake. I didn’t actually see it but the rattle was so loud it stopped me in my tracks. Spoon Man told me to keep moving as I was probably standing next to it and he and Butters quickly followed. We had seen a couple of snakes earlier in the day, one of which was in the water at the hot springs and swam at me as I was trying to pump water.
The scenery of the trail was beautiful as the sun started to go down this evening. We had to cross a river so the boys took off their shoes but as I’d just spent a good 20 minutes bandaging my feet I decided to trudge on through, shoes and all. On the way to the campsite tonight we passed a water cache with cans of soda! These little surprises are magical out here!!
I got a text from Chris this evening saying he would make it to McDonalds tonight. It’s about 24 miles from where I’m camped so I may make it there tomorrow night. I’m cowboy camping tonight which means I’m sleeping on my ground sheet and sleeping mat in my sleeping bag with no tent. I’m certain I’m going to wake up with spiders in my nose and bugs in my ears, or 100 mosquito bites on my face. Either way it’s a new experience to be sleeping right under the stars. I can smell a skunk though and hope I don’t wake up with it in my sleeping bag!