It took us a while to finish all our chores in Big Bear. Our last stop was the post office where I mailed my shoes home, along with an assortment of random crap like toe socks, magnesium supplements and ziploc baggies. Every gram counts at this point. Get that stuff outta my pack!
We sat on the curb in front of the post office, drank a cherry Pepsi and made a 'hiker to trail' sign on a discarded pizza box to help us get a ride back to the trail head. We crossed the street and stuck out our thumb but decided we were in a bad location where it was hard for people to pull over. We crossed a drive way and a lady called to us from a parking space. "Are you PCT hikers?" We walked toward her and said yes and she jumped out of the jeep to make room for us. Josh looked at me and laughed, "it took us longer to make the sign then it did to get the ride!" We piled in the jeep and headed toward the trail. Our trail angel's name was Diane and we talked about the trail, her dogs and the area before she pulled in to mile 266. I offered her some cash for the gas but she adamantly refused. We waved goodbye and Josh and I hoisted on our heavy packs and crossed hwy 18.
It was hard to get going, like really hard, and we walked slowly for the first couple of miles. We took a couple of breaks and played 'hit the stump with a rock' while we stretched out our tight muscles. My feet were feeling fantastic in comparison to a couple of days ago and I only had tape over gauze on a torn blister between my toes on one foot. I was having some weird muscle tension on my leg above my ankle but it went away after a small amount of rubbing. All in all, I felt I had finally conquered the foot/shoe thing. Finally.
My solution: I took Josh's Brooks Cascadia 9's (as he switched back to his Merrells) and I am wearing a liner sock with a pair of pantyhose style socks. So basically, two liner socks. I played with the super feet vs. the stock insoles and decided the stock insoles felt better. Please, let this be the last I worry about my damn feet!
The trail climbed gradually over scree fields for a few miles and offered views of an old gold mine before becoming gloriously level and well maintained. I was feeling good and looked back at Josh, who was not feeling good.
The Merrells were giving him such pain he was almost tip toeing down the trail. I couldn't help but repeatedly offer to trade shoes with him but he refused. We put in 9 miles total for the day and made it to our water source, Caribou Creek, where we set up camp. After getting water and unpacking we piled into the tent and ate a cookless dinner. (I know, I gotta stop eating in the tent in bear country but I'm pretty much over being outside by the time dinner rolls around.)
I called a formal meeting about the situation. I know Josh will suck it up and hike in those shoes, hurting every step of the way for the next 100 miles. I know this because he is the same brand of stubborn as I am - the one who hiked 266 miles in shoes that hurt. I am familiar with this area and told Josh we can bail out at Cougar Crest trail about 3 miles from where we are camped which will let us out at the Big Bear Discovery Center. There we can try to get someone to bring us another pair of Brooks, which hurt him less than the Merrells, or see if someone will drive us down the mountain where he can get to a shoe store. He agreed and I checked my phone for service. I had just enough to text my brother asking him to put out the word on Facebook to see if someone could help us.
Right now it's 7:30 and I'm dying to know what people are saying on Facebook about our plea, but alas, I have no service. I did some other chores like attempt to mend my pants which are coming apart at the seam between my legs. I looked for new pants in Big Bear but everything was cotton! Even the exercise clothes were cotton, even at Big 5! It was a little surprising that Big Bear didn't have a quality gear outfitter.
But I digress.
I tried using super glue on my pants seam but when I put the glue on the fabric it started to smoke and release toxic gas in the tent! Wtf?!
Today I learned: Superglue and poly-spandex fabric don't mix.
After I effectively fused the seem of my (only pair) of pants I had to put a piece of Leukotape over the sharp melted fabric. We'll see how that holds up. :-/ never a dull moment. [facepalm]
Tonight, I am in good spirits. Even though this trip has been bordering on disaster at times, I am hopeful we will get it figured out and start getting in big miles. I may or may not make it to Canada at this pace, but I've still got 5 months and 5 grand left before I have to go back to work and there's no where else I'd rather spend that, than with Josh in a tent. ;-)
Until tomorrow, goodnight!