We were passed by Morgan, a solo hiker who wears the same patterned gaiters as me and hikes REALLY FAST. She said everyone else was still in camp and we were out early. I was glad to get an early start, but knew it was going to be slow going for me due to my tight IT bands. (Gaining 20lbs is not a good idea before a big hike.) We stopped about a mile out of camp to stretch again and I had Josh use my trekking poles as a rolling pin to break up the tightness in my legs. It hurt, but after I was much better.
As we hiked toward Boulder Oaks camp, I admired the rock formations covered in yellow, red and green lyken, in shapes that made me think of the monoliths on Easter island. We stopped briefly under the bridge on Buckman Springs road and watched the swallows fly in and out of their mud huts.
Once at Boulder Oaks we stopped again and unpacked our gear, in order to dry out our tent and sleeping bags. We sat for about an hour, texting family, blogging and Facebooking before we were joined by a woman we met at Lake Morena named Bumble Bee. She was a 2011 AT thru hiker and now plans to hike the California section of the PCT before going to law school. She was having problems with her feet and planned to camp there. We added each other on Facebook, made our farewells and pressed on.
For some dumb reason we set out on the Kitchen Creek portion of the trail at 1pm, even though we knew that this was going to be a hot, exposed slog. I'm still confused as to why we set out on it during the hottest part of the day. Climbing, climbing, climbing, we leap frogged a few people and looked longingly at the creek below. It would be so nice to swim but I don't want to do the steep climb down to it with my knees and budding blisters.
Finally we made it to Fred Canyon road and took note of the 'Unexploded Military Ordinance' sign. We didn't want to have to do the steep drop down into Cibbettes Flats Camp, but we were nearly out of water and there was bombs here! A few steps further we saw our first water cache and decide that with our water situation now resolved, being left with only the threat of bombs was not enough to force us to climb down to Cibbettes, and we set up camp near the road.
While making dinner, In Charge hiked up and we chit chatted for a while. He decided to camp at the road too and we parted ways to our respective tent sites.
Josh and I compared feet, and enjoy the views before settling in to the tent for the night...at 7pm. At this rate, we'll be up by 3am! We are definitely adjusting to this new life and searching for our rhythm.
It's 8:30pm now and we've listened to our neighboring campers talk about ants. Josh has put in his ear plugs and I'm officially ready for sleep. Tomorrow is an easy day, 10 miles to Mt. Laguna where we will pick up our resupply box and Nero. (Nero is a contraction for 'near zero' and is the term for hiking low mileage in exchange for food and rest.) Yes, A Nero sounds super good to me!