We woke and broke camp quickly and the area was full of the Warrior Hike guys when we left. Immediately we were walking in a grove of Poodle Dog Bush but it was not directly on the trail. We wound our way down to Sulphur Springs Trail Camp to get water and met up with Sparkles and Far Out. We studied our maps, ate and chatted about the days goals when we were joined by Angelina and Hillary, and soon after a couple of the warrior hike guys.
Josh, Far Out and I were the first to leave and headed down a dirt road until it intersected the trail. From there we started to climb gradually but for many miles. As we entered the burn zone from the Station Fire the trail became a technical mess. There were downed trees to circumvent, over grown brush, loose soil that crumbled under your feet like quicksand and of course, the Poodle Dog Bush. We shimmied thru, squeezed around and jumped over it but I'm sure we all touched it at some point. Our dance went on for at least ten miles and Josh and I stopped to break twice during that time. Once we aired out our feet on the windiest side of the mountain because there was finally a place to sit that didn't have dog bush and another to eat lunch under a big sugar pine and after we ate we dozed in the sun for a while which was lovely.
After a long treacherous descent we arrived at the Mill Creek Fire Station where the group was eating and talking about the re-route. They made space for us at the table and we joined them in the planning. We decided to walk the road that parallels the trail for about 17 miles to avoid further contact with the Poodle Dog Bush. Soon after we'd set the plan Darwin and Fenna arrived and told us they had taken the long detour yesterday by mistake! That's an extra 20 miles! They were so hoping to be at the Saufly's by ThursdayDarwin said they were going to try to push hard to get there.
Far Out, Angelina, Hillary and Josh and I set out on the last bit of trail miles before the road walk. The trail was brutal! Steep uphill in sandy soil with a huge headwind. I was struggling but pushed on hard and I think actually did pretty well considering I was hauling 5 liters of water. We all dropped out on the road and looked for a place to camp. There was no shortage of flat spots but they were not sheltered and in a major wind tunnel. Angelina and Hillary decided to press on and get a few more miles while Far Out and Josh and I decided to look for a more sheltered area to camp in. We found a tiny sandy area right next to the road that as in a little alcove and decided that was going to be home.
We pitched and made dinner while chucking rocks across the street listening as they dropped down a corrugated storm gutter and watched the full moon rise. Finally we were cold and retreated to the warmth of our respective tents.
Right now it's 9pm and I want so much to be in Acton at the fancy KOA eating a pizza, but that is 24 miles away. We did 18 miles today and if we do the same tomorrow well almost be there! Onward! To Pizza and WIFI!
Until then, goodnight!