We were supposed to get a jump on the day by setting the alarm for 5am. The alarm went off as planned and I promptly put that nonsense to bed. Really, I tried to snooze it and ended up turning it off, so we woke at 6am as usual and were out of camp by 7am.
Immediately the trail climbed for 5 miles or so and Josh was having a terrible time with his legs. We went slow and steady, stopping to stretch until we made it to the water source. We dropped pack and filled up all our bottles and bladders while cameling up and eating some snacks. Our next stretch will be at least 16 miles before the opportunity for water arises. A hiker named Miles arrived as we were preparing to leave and we said hello on our way out.
We only got a few feet away before Josh stopped short and took off his pack. His water bladder had leaked and he had to backtrack to the creek to refill. Once we started hiking again it was slow going up the hill until we topped out around Mission Springs camp. We crossed a dirt road several times, the same road I used to take to Fish Creek and Aspen Grove trailheads. It made me smile thinking about those days when I would drive by and dream about thru hiking and now here I am! We followed the trail as it descended and spotted Tom Cat and Mighty Mouse up ahead. We caught up to them and talk for a while before pushing on ahead.
Josh was feeling good now on the down hill and now my feet started to hurt. Go figure. I had to take a couple short breaks, one to change my socks, another to re-lace my shoes and one where I had epic foot nerve freak out and had to climb some rocks to find a position to sit that didn't hurt. This metatarsal stuff is great fun. :-P
My pains were greatly diminished, however by the insane views of the Coachella Valley, a snow capped San Gorgonio and the grander of San Jacinto. I'm not kidding, AMAZING VIEWS.
We took some Advil and continued to hike passing thru large snow drifts, quartz fields and lots of mud, until we arrived at he Coon Creek Jump off and the US Forest service cabin. Now, at the risk of giving too much information, I have to tell you. I had to 'go' all day, if you catch my drift, but couldn't find a suitable place to dig a cat hole since we were on ridge line most if the time. When we arrived at the Coon Creek Cabin I was over the moon that there was a pit toilet and it was open! Granted, it was the nastiest pit toilet I've ever used but it's better than trying to balance on the side of a mountain! The cabin had more magic to offer than just a toilet, a jeep full of guys pulled in and chatted us up about the trail. I asked them if they had any water to spare and they gave us a whole gallon! We took two liters and left the rest for another hiker who may need it. Shortly after the guys drove away another jeep with two guys in it drove up. They chatted us up about the trail too and gave us two gatorades! Josh and I shared one and gave the other to Sasquatch, who arrived while we were getting ready to go. Trail magic! If you're reading, thanks guys!
Josh and I headed back out on the trail and climbed slowly up. We were passed by Sasquatch and another hiker and I wished for those fast legs. The trail leveled out and we dropped to a dirt road where we started looking for a place to camp. Josh wanted to pitch on private property and I vetoed it. He said I was a stickler for the rules and I explained to him that having been homeless I know if you sleep where a sign told you not to you're going to have to move in the middle of the night and that really blows. He understood and we found a spot out of the property boundary to pitch. As we were getting the lay of the land two hikers strolled by. It was April, now named Bear claw, from the Facebook page and her boyfriend Dirt Monger. We hugged April and chatted about shoes and stuff before they headed out to bag a few more miles. They've been averaging 20 miles a day from the beginning and I am jealous!
Josh and I plopped into the tent and ate dinner, in the tent, which we probably shouldn't do anymore since were in bear country. We finally bundled up and started to blog when I heard a deep growling animal call come from the forest. Josh and I looked at each other with large eyes. "Did you hear that?!" I said
"Was that a Bear?!" He asked.
We commenced freak out and unzipped the tent, shining a headlamp in to the darkness. It occurred to Josh that it could be the Private Zoo in the area. I guess there is a house that has movie animals caged up in the back. I messaged April to ask if she heard it too and she said it was in fact the zoo. There is a lion, tiger and two bears there. I think what we heard was the lion calling his territory boundaries. Pretty bizarre.
Right now it's 9pm and I'm freezing my ass off. I'm blogging under the total cover of my sleeping bag. I hope to make it to Big Bear tomorrow and zero for Josh's 41st birthday! As for the miles, I hope they will come. I have to remember that there are people who started before me that are behind me and that the ideal time to enter the Sierra is mid June. I know we'll make that time frame. Heres to fingers crossed that the trail runners do the trick! I am hopeful!
Until tomorrow, goodnight!