Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 6,900 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 15.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 268.6 miles
Weather/Temp- sleet/rain, 30,40,50,60
Injuries- object in leg, rolled ankle
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 1
Started walking the one mile to the post office about a quarter after 8am, and after being stopped by some locals to chat, ended up arriving right as it opened at 9 am.
(Making friends on the way to the post office…and turds)
The lines got long quick, and it was almost an hour before I’d packed up my replacement sleeping bag, then packaged and shipped my old one, plus a few extras (my license plate included).
It was raining when we first began trying to hitch. We had no luck, finally gave in, and split an expensive taxi back to the trailhead a little after noon.
Before I get into the day’s hike, I just want to bring up a funny observation I’ve made about this trail. Soooo many other thru hikers are skipping huge chunks of it. This trail is gorgeous, as well as a mall walk for terrain difficulty, yet it seems that 75% of the people we’re meeting out here are skipping big sections every chance they get. Most are using the detours, reroutes, and closures as an excuse to skip, but they are skipping WAAY more than what’s necessary.
We met a ton of hikers in Big Bear that had skipped from the cafe right before the first walkable detour, all the way up to here, then didn’t even start at the most southern trail access to this town. Instead starting at the furthest trail access to the town, and distance of nearly 130 miles of trail skipped in one leap! Who knows how much they did before that, and how much they’ll skip after.
I try not to focus on the way others hike, but when you’re out here putting in the time and the miles, you can’t help but get a little annoyed when people simply skip past you. It’s like playing a game that someone else is making/changing the rules to, while you’re playing it. Obviously there are no rules on how to hike out here, but that’s how it feels to me when I watch others get “paid” the same as me, but for half the “work.”
Anyways, it doesn’t feel very intelligent when you’re taking a taxi to a trail head that’s almost 9,000 feet up…while it’s raining. Let me be the first to tell you, rain at 9,000 feet isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world. Nevertheless, we were very restless from all the waiting around and driving over the past couple days. It was time to give the old legs a good (chilly, wet) stretch.
When we were dropped off, there were tiny snow flakes in the air. After a few mins of hiking they turned to tiny balls of hale. Another 20 mins go by, and we’re walking in sleeting rain. Sleeting rain was the name of the game for around two hours, before it became a light misting rain. Another 30 mins of that, and the clouds broke. It was a pleasant day from there on out.
After a little descent, we hiked between seven and eight thousand feet for basically the entire day. Little bit of alpine terrain, little bit forest and rock, and a lot of desert terrain. Almost no animals at all, besides one jack rabbit I saw that I thought was a coyote at first, due to the fact that it was bigger than katana.
Speaking of the little devil herself, she was on point again today; thriving in the wet, cold weather. I was practically chasing her down the trail, she was moving so fast. As a matter of fact, I rolled my ankle twice while trying to keep my eye on her up ahead, and not paying attention to the ground. Yes it hurt, and I cussed and winced, but I’ve come to learn that the best thing you can do for a rolled ankle is… keep moving directly after, and keep the blood flowing. Despite a very “hot” feeling in my ankle all day, the pain only lasted a few mins after each roll. I’m slowly chipping away at all that fancy work that Dr. Nielsen at the Andrew’s Institute did for me after my Appalachian Trail “ankle debacle.” It’ll be interesting to see what it goes through between here and Canada….
The terrain was mostly flat and sloping, with some Dr. Seuss looking plants thrown in here and there. All in all, it was an enjoyable half day, done at a quick pace, and we still got some good miles done. The trail looks extra easy ahead, so we’re fantasizing about a 30 mile + day tomorrow. We’ll see if those fantasies come to life…
P.S. My replacement sleeping bag is heavenly. 12 more ounces, but no more drafts, courtesy of CatFox