May 3, 2017
Mile 289.94 – Mile 310.18
It was a nice warm night last night. When I emerged from my tent, the sky was painted with pinks and purples. I was hiking just after 6am.
Morning view from camp
The morning light on the hills was gorgeous. We had to cross Holcomb Creek on logs a couple of times in the morning, which was pretty fun. There was tons of water today. When we came to a creek with no easy way to cross, I took my shoes and socks off, waded across, then sat down on the other side to eat my second breakfast while my feet dried. Breakfast wasn’t quite as exciting without the fresh banana, but overnight oats and peanut butter still make me very happy. As does coffee.
I hiked through the desert with Cougar and Dr. McDirty, until we reached Deep Creek. There was a large and impressive bridge going across, but I needed water badly so I picked my way down to the creek. Gummies was there, along with a few other people. I had been planning to grab water and push on, but the creek was lovely and the shade was so nice that we all ended up lounging around for over an hour. I washed my feet, legs, and socks. The shore was made up of tiny pebbles, and rubbing my feet into them felt like a massage, it was so glorious. It was like a little natural spa down there. As we were all lying there, we saw a huge snake slithering out of the grass towards our patch of beach. We got up as it slithered down to the water, then suddenly shot across to the other side of the creek. It was crazy. We took that as our cue to leave.
Under Deep Creek bridge
As we climbed up from the creek and back into the sun, I realized how hot the day had become. We only had a little under 3 miles to go to the Deep Creek day use area, where we were planing to have lunch. We wound around on a ridge, high above the creek, and finally came to the dirt road leading down to water level. As soon as we arrived, we all stripped down and dove into the creek. The water was freezing but felt AMAZING. Cleanliness! Joy! We got out quickly and sat in the sun to dry while eating.
When we left our lunch spot, the day had gotten even hotter. I think it was some of the hottest weather we’ve had yet. I fell to the back of the pack and was struggling a bit. The sun beat down, and sweat was dripping down my neck. Deep Creek wound far below, taunting me with its dark, deep swimming holes. I wanted to stop, but knew there was water in a couple of miles, so kept going. The act of hiking in ingrained in my muscle memory now. My legs keep moving, one foot in front of the other, no matter what.
When I made it to the creek, there were tons of hikers there, enjoying the shade and cool water. I dunked my head into the creek and sat for a while. Nobody wanted to move. But it was only 4 miles to the spot where we planned to camp.
Cougar, Dr. McDirty, Gummies and I left the creek together. We trudged along the ridge line, revelling in each patch of shade we passed through. We passed by the hot springs, but it was way too hot to even consider taking a soak. Plus the water is apparently filled with some kind of deadly bacteria and fecal matter. And naked people. We did see Soren as we passed by though, which was nice because we hadn’t seen him since Warner Springs. As the sun got lower in the sky, the hills were lit with a gorgeous evening light. The air smelled of summer. There was more and more shade as the sun got lower and lower. As we walked, we discussed what we’re going to order from the on-trail McDonald’s that we’ll reach the day after tomorrow. We hoped to camp by Deep Creek, since we knew we would be crossing it on another bridge at around the 20 mile mark for the day. As we approached the bridge, things weren’t looking too promising. It was a steep drop off down to the water, and there wasn’t anywhere great to camp. Suddenly, we spotted an awesome looking beach across the water. We crossed the bridge, followed the trail for a bit, and found a trail leading down to the bridge! We were so happy. Two other guys were already down there, and welcomed us to come camp with them. We scrambled down, and immediately jumped into the creek again. The water was slightly warmer downstream from the hot springs, and it felt soooooo good. I’m actually going to bed clean tonight. What a feeling. Over the course of the evening, more and more hikers joined us, and now I think there’s like 17 people here. There’s me, Gummies, Cougar, Dr. McDirty, Coco, Simba, Yard Sale, Bandit, Metric, Hummingbird, plus a bunch of others whose names I don’t know. Most of us are cowboy camping on the beach, which is pretty cool. This is the warmest night we’ve had so far. Now I get to fall asleep to the white noise of the Deep Creek rapids.
Beach slumber party!!