WMiles: 22.4
Camping: on a futon in a trail angel house in Wrightwood, CA
Hikers seen on trail: 9

In my dream I was back in Portland but I’d forgotten how to drive. Funny enough I woke to a dense fog, which must have crept into my dreams as Portland. Not funny in that everything was damp from the fog upon waking. Twice this week I’ve woken to a wet sleeping bag. After yesterday I grumpily accepted this fate with the rest and speedily packed up camp. Got it done in 15 minutes, record time.

The hike today involved over 5500 ft of elevation gain, but would end in town where I could take a zero to shake off the rough patches I’ve had. It would be a long day, so I vowed to take really good care of myself and take the miles slow with lots of breaks.

I was a bit grumpy, but hiking is a great way to work through a sour mood. It was rough to find happy thoughts, but I found some amusing nature moments to break the spell. There are these big black beetles that have been on the trail since day 1. They walk about all day acting very industrious, though I’m not sure what they do for work. Apparently they stick their butt in the air sometimes, but I had never seen it until this morning. It sounds silly, but it looks sillier. I walked by one and he stopped mid-shift and basically did a downward facing dog in the trail, butt way up in the air. This invoked giggles from me, which lifted my spirits. It couldn’t be all that bad if I’m out here giggling at beetle butt.

Not long after, I saw a gopher hopping around on some rocks. He saw me and made a run for it straight downhill. In his haste, he knocked some rocks down the hill and one hit him right on the behind while he was running. It looked harmless, but I found it hilarious. Nature sure made some good butt jokes today to lift my mood!

The hiking was mostly uphill, and my feet were very sore. I’m pretty sure I’ve pushed myself too hard, and need to slow it down if I want to finish this thing. I have a lot of rest coming in the next 100 or so miles between Wrightwood and the 2 famous trail angel homes of the Saufleys and the Andersons. I plan to take it slow and rest plenty to nurse my aching feet back to health. They are less than pleased with me right now.

The views were quite epic today with the fog nestled into the mountains, creating soft blue hues. I stopped to enjoy them many times, and had lunch with Little Debbie (new trail name has been requested) in a great camp spot. I made 2 packages of organic ramen and added beef brisket jerky… my new favorite hiking meal! She had dehydrated salsa and was eating it (rehydrated) with chips, which I eyed enviously. While we were there we saw a helicopter circling and then making an apparent rescue, though we aren’t sure. We got nervous for our friends we knew were ahead of us. Upon leaving our lunch spot, I looked closely at the footprints of those ahead of me (I’ve learned to recognize the patterns of my friend’s shoes). I couldn’t find Tinkerbell’s print, so I worried for several miles, until I heard from other hikers that she was ahead and just fine.

Just 5 miles from town was a campground where I had contemplated staying the night. When I got there the wind was howling, and at over 8000 ft, it was cold at 3 pm. I figured I could push the miles and take it real easy in town for a solid day and a half before taking a slow hike to the Saufley’s. I pushed into the wind and my feet resisted, forcing me to take a lie down break with some vitamin I. I knew the store that listed places to stay closed at 5:30, so against my feet’s will I amped up the pace after that.

As I was passing through a ski resort (we literally hiked down the ski slope), I had to stop and heed the call of nature. There was little cover, but no one had been behind me for a while so I took a squat between 2 trees. Just as I was pulling up my pants, #1 came bursting down the hill. I found out he got his name because he is a fast hiker, and always gets done first. He apparently missed the show. I hiked out on his heels, hoping to reach the highway and call it a day…when I got there he was nowhere in sight, but Tinkerbell appeared. We hitched a ride from a super sweet couple from Big Bear, and they got us to the hardware store where we had packages and found the trail angel list just in time.

Special thanks to Elaine for feeding my Trader Joe’s cravings, and the bonus card in my package. You are a saint, and I appreciate you more than words can express (I teared up a bit from the gesture) ❤

Also, thank you Mike Slama for mailing my own package that I found has way too much food in it! I’m glad I didn’t pack too many boxes, because I’ve learned a lot since I put those together, and I keep having to give away food! Oh well, it will come around when I need it.

Now I’m at the home of a lovely family with #1 and a hiker named Chris. We had dinner at a place called Yodelers where it was taco night and we stuffed our faces. I’m in bed at 10 which is late and I’m tired. Rest tomorrow in town, and some re-evaluating of the plan to ease things for my aching feet.