We woke to birds chirping at 6am and did the morning ritual. We had a bit of a slow morning and weren't out of camp until 7:45. We only planned to hike about 12 miles today and figured we had time to dilly dally. We crossed the San Ysidro creek and started to climb almost immediately thru a series of switchbacks. We passed a lady who introduced herself as Pillsbury and had a mini Pillsbury doughboy pinned to her backpack. She asked us what our names were and when we replied with our real names she looked shocked.
We followed the creek most of the way and pulled Matrix maneuvers to avoid the copious amounts of poison oak. There were beautiful pools of crystal clear water that, even in the cool morning, were begging be soaked in. We resisted the urge and the trail diverted from the creek. We climbed and the trail meandered thru a tall manzanita forest, and I realized that my feet weren't hurting! I was actually able to look around for once!
We stopped in the shade for a bit to take off our shoes and were soon joined by Pillsbury. She sat and we chatted for a while before continuing on. Pillsbury is very smart, upbeat and bubbly and we enjoyed her company. We leap frogged for a while as the trail climbed and climbed and the sun grew hot in the sky. We arrived at a trail junction for a water source but opted to pass it by, which we late found was a foolish idea.
Finally it grew too warm to hike and we found some shade to siesta. We were soon joined by Pillsbury and she sat with us for lunch. She had made all of her food in advance for the hike and was reconstituting macaroni salad. Josh and I looked down at our processed food "lunch" of chex mix and fig bars (somehow we totally screwed up our Warner Springs box) and felt slightly embarrassed. I admit that if I had it to do over again, I would have made better food for the trail. I think a big part of why things have been so hard is improper nutrition. Too late now!
After lunch we started hiking around 3 pm with 6 miles to go to the next water source. Josh and I bid Pillsbury goodbye and started out slow. The day was still blazing hot and I had to stop a few times in the shade. The trail wound it's way thru a massive boulder field with some of the largest alligator lizards I've ever seen. The plant life was interesting in this area as well, there were ferns next to cactus and poison oak in abundance.
With 3 miles to go I had to stop and eat something. Both of us were nearly out of water and desperately thirsty and the miles never seemed to get less. This is the first time I've seen Josh get flustered and you could tell he was done.
We pushed hard and finally arrived at a sign pointing us to trail angel Mikes for water and rest. We pushed up the hill and then down to the road toward the house. Finally we saw a large water tank with a note on it stating that the water was safe to drink and Josh filled up his bottle and we breathed a sigh I relief. We followed the signs down to the yard and saw several hikers sitting on the porch, including the AT guys. We said hello, filled up the rest of our water and set out to find a soda. We rounded the back of the house and saw Pillsbury who looked slightly distressed. She was planning to hike out that night due to being uncomfortable with the crowed. I completely agreed and did not want to stay. The vibe was palpable and the whole scene reminded me of my past, doing drugs in Indio Hills in the desert where I grew up. Nope.
We pounded a soda and a liter of water that tasted like metal and put $5 in the donation jar before packing up and heading out. My map said there was space to camp where the dirt road met the trail and that is where we stopped. Pillsbury decided that she felt good and hiked on ahead of us.
Josh and I pitched the tent, being careful of what rocks we picked up for fear they'd have a surprise under them. We jumped inside and cooked a dinner of top ramen with various sauces. Josh had an oriental flavor and I had Alfredo sauce. After dinner we did our nightly baby wipe bath and settled in.
Right now it's 9:15pm and I am tired. I've set my alarm for 5am to hopefully squeeze in more miles before it gets hot. We seem to hike better in the morning before the break. As of now, we are 6 miles from the Riverside county line, which kind of blows my mind! I've walked across San Diego County. Trip out on that!
Until tomorrow, goodnight!