Josh and I hung out in the hotel room until 11am when my brother Eli and friend Carlos arrived to be our trail angels for the day! We talked for a bit in the room and then got packed up to run errands. When I put on my shoes I realized they totally did not fit. I don't know if my feet grew over the zero or what, but my toes were hitting the end. I just up sized them too, which threw me for a loop.
We went to Sports Chalet to get Josh insoles and I tried on 4 different sizes of Merrells. I ended up getting a men's size 10 wide which is ENORMOUS, but they fit me better. I also got some gel insoles to help cushion the blow. I don't know how those will last but I'll try anything right now!
After shopping we ate lunch at 5 guys. I'd never been there and it was good. We also got some more food to supplement our resupply box as we are moving slower than we anticipated. At last we headed for Warner Springs and arrived around 1:30pm. We stopped in to the community center briefly and met Warner Springs Monty and waved hello to Tumbleweed, Pink Panther and Happy Feet.
We hugged Eli and Carlos and dropped into a wash below the road to rest and let the hot part of the day pass. We organized our resupply and Josh ran some things we didn't need back to the community center hiker box. We started out on the trail around 3pm and crossed a long section of prairie with waving grasses and signs reminding hikers they were on private property. We dropped into and oak grove that had obstacle course equipment, like wood walls to climb over and pull up bars, which was kind of out of place. We walked under hwy 79, a second time and followed a dry creek bed up a canyon.
We were hiking solidly when and explosion of rattling came from the bushes on the right side of the trail. Josh, who was in the lead, jumped back and I saw a black and white stripped rattle snake retreating up the slope. Once Josh figured out where the snake was he went for his phone and took some video. (If you have a chance, you should check out his blog. There's a link in the bar up top.) After the snake took off I stepped into the lead for a while. Everything looked like a snake and I was on high alert! We arrived at a wide spot in the trail next to the water source and we decided that was going to be home for the night.
We dropped our packs and said hello to Blackjack, one of the AT hiker trash guys and chatted him up for a while. He said they had watched the eclipse last night and had just woken up from a nap. They were packing to leave and night hike to catch their friends, Beeline and Timone. Eventually they took off down the trail and bid us 'peace and love.'
The AT guys kind of trip me out. I wasn't going to write about it but I just have to share!
[cue flashback]: Josh and I were sitting by a creek eating breakfast one morning a while back and one of the AT guys shows up and asks if we want to smoke. We politely decline but tell him it's cool if he partakes...so he pulls out A FULL SIZED GLASS MASON JAR full of kind buds...and a glass water pipe. I tried to play it cool, but I'm sure my jaw dropped. It wasn't the amount of weed the guy had that was shocking to me, but that he was carrying it in a glass mason jar! How much does that even weigh?! But hey, hike your own hike, right? :-) We all have our priorities.They are cool guys, they're interesting to watch and listen to.
Anyhoo...Josh and I set up our tent in the middle of a thicket of poison oak just to make things interesting. We ate a dinner of pop tarts and chex mix, as we've discovered pop tarts are what they serve in backpacker heaven, and jumped in the tent to escape the bugs. I started to feel a little nauseous, perhaps from some electrolytes I drank and waited for it to pass, which it did.
Right now, it's 8:30pm and Josh and I are side by side pecking at our phones while being serenaded by an orchestra of frogs, crickets and the cracking of brush as animals and fellow hikers pass by in the dark. I am feeling tons better and while I've developed some new blisters on our 5 mile Nero today, I feel I will be able to manage them better than before. I feel happy for tomorrow.
Until then, goodnight!