Miles: 15.89
Camping: PCT mile 281.89
Hikers seen on trail: 4

Waking up at the hostel was lovely. Everyone was preparing for the day quietly, all with slightly different agendas. I still didn’t have a solid plan, but I knew I wanted breakfast, had to go to the grocery store and then mail my bounce bucket (a bucket that I send from one town to the next with supplies I may need).

I chatted with a few other hikers and began packing up, so I could get things done. Peanut was set on getting Sierra a trail name that involved her love of cake, and she enlisted me to help (I’ve given 3 trail names so far, and helped with another). I suggested, “Little Debbie,” and it went over well. Now I have given 4 trail names…kinda crazy! I thought it would be cool if I came up with 1 at all, because they are kind of important. It’s your identity once you’ve been dubbed.

After packing my things and moving out of my room, I set off for breakfast. I heard about this Polar Bear special that was 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns and 2 pancakes. Sounded like it hit all the cravings, so I went for it. No one I talked to had finished it, but I was feeling ambitious and hungry. When I ordered, the man said, “You’re not walking today, are you?”
“Later on,” I replied.
He seemed impressed, but with a slight lack of confidence in how much I could eat.

The breakfast came on two plates, and for once looked like it would be enough food. I dug in, slowly sipping coffee between bites until I was officially defeated. I got a few bites into the second pancake when I had to stop. I didn’t want to, but there was no more room in my belly. Finally, a meal too big for me to finish! It felt good to be full.

I then got a ride to the grocery store from a man named Chuck who was leaving the diner at the same time as I was. He was very curious about hiking, and asked a lot of questions. It was sweet, and the ride was nice…as was shopping on a full stomach. I didn’t over do it, and managed to buy what I hope is enough snacks for the next stretch to Wrightwood. I had sent myself meals in my bucket, so I didn’t have to buy any of those. I realize it’s more fun to shop as I go though, so I look forward to running out of pre-shipped foods.

After I was all done with my errands, I got a ride from the hostel shuttle back up to the trailhead. It was noon and I figured I could get in at least 15 miles for the day. I hadn’t charged my phone, and it was dying, so I didn’t get a lot of good pictures today. It was beautiful too, hiking on the ridge above the lake and looking down on the lake and town with Mt. Gorgonio in the background. I got one shot so you get a taste of the beauty, not that pictures ever do it true justice anyhow.

Hiking was pretty uneventful, as it was just me today. I had some stiffness in my shoulders and neck which is new, but that just made me do some yoga, and that felt good. I wasn’t using my trekking poles, so I wonder if that is why. I will be sure to use them tomorrow to test that theory. Sometimes I just don’t want to carry anything in my hands, and the trail was pretty easy today.

I found a spot to pitch my tent, and realized this was my first day hiking and camping solo. Awesome! There is a camp only 3 miles from here, but I knew lots of people would be there and I wanted to enjoy my alone time. I know I will run into most of the group ahead tomorrow, so who knows how long this will last. I don’t know when I became such a hermit, but I don’t see getting the most out of this experience by always being around people. I enjoy them all immensely in town and on certain days, but it’s hard to really dig into those deep personal thoughts when someone is always around. That may change, but for now, I am doing my own thing. Hiking my own hike.

Goodnight! (Going to shoot for 25 miles tomorrow!  Yowza!)

Polar Bear breakfast: before and after