Miles: 30.2

Camp: My CDT mile 1489.9

It is so nice to be able to cowboy camp again, even if it is a brief time. I woke in the night again and was mesmerized by the stars before falling back to sleep. There is zero light pollution out here, and no noise either. I have had more moments of pure silence in the Great Basin than anywhere else on the trail. This is just what I wanted.

I was up before sunrise and it felt pretty good. It is easier to wake with the sun when not in a tent. It was a bit cloudy the morning as well, so it was nice and cool for the first half of the day. I saw more antelope, wild horses and lots of cows. I got stuck in a herd of cattle as they were using the trail as well. They were both curious and scared of me, staring until it was time to run ahead and look back to stare some more. I did my best not to separate any moms from their calves, though one calf seemed to have no natural sense of self preservation as it continued to linger and watch me until I was within 10 feet. Then it would run 10 more feet and stare back at me.

Finally free from the cattle I had a pretty easy morning. I would watch the road present itself for miles ahead and then gradually the distance would grow shorter. It can be quite a mental challenge not to focus on how long and unchanging the road can be for miles and miles ahead.

A lot of the walking was pretty sandy today as well and that aggravated my neuroma. Sadly, the pain returned after lunch and I had to really focus on how I was walking. Changing my gait helps, but it is a concentrated effort. This thru hiking thing sure comes with some discomfort (that’s putting it lightly), but I didn’t expect it to be any different. You just have to weigh how badly you want to hike against how much pain you can tolerate. My threshold for pain is pretty high, the challenge more in taking my mind away from the pain than focusing on it. It’s a lot of extra work. 

It is now growing dark and I am rolled out in a dry river bed. It is soft and cozy and I look forward to falling asleep under a blanket of stars again. 30 miles is a long day and I feel I’ve earned these last moments of the day to stare at the sky and do nothing. Nothing sounds more dreamy. 

Dinner: rice with mushrooms, cheese, salsa and bacon bits. 

Sharing water with the locals.