Miles: 23.75
Camp: 872.25
Elevation at camp: 10900 feet

Last night may have been one of my best nights of sleep on trail. After dinner I went straight to bed and passed promptly out. It is a great feeling. I was up and out of camp at 6:30 ready to face the trail.

The trail was pretty nondescript most of the way. It was endlessly rolling hills that I followed an old road through. I spent a lot of time thinking about work and what jobs I’ve loved, sort of trying to dial in what I want to do next. I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up…but I sure miss Hollywood Bowl!

Right at lunch the sky darkened up and I could hear thunder in the distance. We lucked out with good weather for a while, but the past couple of days reminded me of what it can be like when the sky gets cranky. I don’t mind an afternoon storm though, it is so incredibly hot at these lower elevations that the storms bring along cool air…when it isn’t muggy. Most of the day felt like mid summer and there was no snow in sight. Solstice happened right on cue for those of us who just came down from the high mountains. The hot summer weather was accompanied by hundreds of butterflies, bees and various summer insects…including mosquitoes. It is really hard to stop and take breaks without being harassed by the little bloodsuckers. My tent is currently covered by them. All in all, mosquitoes are another reason to welcome the storms and wind, as they keep them at bay.

After lunch I came upon some trail magic: 3 beers and a coke being kept cold by the river. I started to walk away uninterested, but turned back for the coke in hopes it would power me through the next miles. I needed a calorie/energy boost. I so rarely drink soda that it was a real treat, and I got through the next mosquito ridden miles with a good amount of energy.

I’ve really enjoyed finally having a good stretch of time to myself. I take more breaks, but they end up being shorter as I’m not distracted. Then I end up hiking farther because it is too early to camp…I’ll have to make a point to take longer breaks tomorrow. Maybe take a nap just to slow down. My feet are up to their old tricks again, no cold snow to keep pain and inflammation at bay. When we were in the San Juans I had zero foot problems and never took ibuprofen. Today I’ve taken 4 ibuprofen and still my feet ache. Time to put mind over matter…thru hiking is painful, but oh so painfully worth it.

Dinner: mashed potatoes with jerky, coconut oil, sundried tomatoes and powdered goats milk.

Trail magic! (They left a bag tied to a tree for the trash)
Butterflies everywhere!
View from the loo