Miles: 8.6 (+.61 to camp)
Camping: Whitewater Preserve .61 miles from PCT mile 218.6
Hikers seen on trail: 0

**Nearo: Hiking minimal miles

Today was mostly spent being idle, which was not the plan. The miles I gained no longer have me ahead, but it’s okay. I’ve spent time enjoying a shady patio in the desert among other hikers. We have been lounging, bonding, soaking our feet, trading food, playing cards, and talking about food.

The plan was to wait until noon for the town run, eat a hot meal and then be on our way by 2. We waited until noon, growing antsy and there was still no food run. 1:00 came and went. Stampede gave everyone calf tattoos in sharpie, people went for seconds and thirds on foot baths, books were read, blogs written, photos shared. Then it was 2 and finally the volunteers came out to take our pizza orders. Finally. Food. We sat all day waiting for a hot meal not cooked on trail, losing intended miles with daylight.

It was okay, because pizza was coming. Hot, melty goodness to top off the wait, and then our 16 mile intentions all dwindled to 8, collectively. At least we march together into the late afternoon, towards the windmills, towards Canada.

The pizza was good, and provided entertainment for us calorie deprived hikers. One came unsliced, so a guy named Levels ate it like a taco (pic below); Landfill ordered two and strapped one on his pack for the hike (see pic). It was an interesting sight as we all sat there with a pizza on our lap, eating as if our lives depended on it. Some people couldn’t finish and were handing extra slices to those who didn’t get their fill, it was quite a feeding frenzy.

After gorging on pizza (I ate a little more than half of mine, but packed the rest for tomorrow’s breakfast), I felt lethargic, but it was time to hike. I quickly downed a Dr. Pepper for energy and headed off with Blisster. I was hiking slow, not feeling any energy. It was hot and mostly uphill. I trudged behind Blisster as we passed the windmills at the wind farm, and huffed my way to the top of the canyon. Suddenly, the pizza haze lifted and I was full of my usual energy. The scenery changed to rolling green hills and the trail leveled out, so hiking was easier. I practically skipped along, watching the mountains unfold before me, finally opening up to a breathtaking canyon. I then enjoyed my first package of peanut M&Ms in years. I feel a new addiction coming on.

The canyon was where we were headed, to the Whitwater Preserve. It is an oasis to top all oases here, and I don’t ever want to leave! It is beautiful, with a Jurassic Park vibe, and it is only open to PCT hikers. There is a bathroom, which is a trail luxury, ponds full of croaking frogs, bats flying through the air, quaking aspens, palm trees and an almost full moon. It’s like our own private Eden.

I am now going to put away my phone and lie in my tent looking at the moon. Enjoy the pictures…and hopefully I’ll be putting in 20+ miles tomorrow to make up for the nearo. Goodnight!

Also, a HUGE thank you to our wonderful hosts, Ziggy and The Bear!!!!! What you provide to hikers is wonderful, and I couldn’t appreciate it more. You are honestly angels deserving of wings, and I hope that you get all of the appreciation/support you deserve. XOXO

***disclaimer: that is not my leg. It is Phoenix, art by Stampede***

Hiker explosion
Levels don’t need his pizza cut
Landfill is ready for anything…as long as there is food