May 23, 2017
Mile 572.92 – Mile 592.89
*Note: I somehow neglected to take a single photo past 10am today.*
I slept well last night, but my alarm felt like it went off too early after our late arrival in camp. I was hiking by around 5:45, which I think might be my earliest start on the trail so far. The morning light was beautiful on the mountains, and the trail was awesome, but I was not having a great morning. I had to change my contacts in camp, and something seemed a bit wonky with my vision afterwards, and my Achilles tendons were really bothering me, especially on the uphills.
I stopped for a breakfast break after a few miles, and Gummies joined me. Afterwards, with a mixture of oatmeal, coffee, and laughter in my system, I was feeling much better. I put in my headphones and turned on some music, and suddenly I was flying down the trail. We would around more lines of wind turbines, and got some great views of the hills we are winding through. We had 10.5 miles to our water source today, and only in the last couple of miles did it staff start to get really hot. I had to drag myself the last bit to the spring, and when I got there I got my water, collapsed in the dirt, and immediately chugged a litre. It was cool, almost cold, and amazing. We stayed there for a while, and then decided to walk a bit further to find a spot for lunch / afternoon napping.
There was lots of shade at first, but as we continued, our hopes of finding a nice shady spot to spend the afternoon dwindled. The trail just seemed to be becoming more and more exposed, and the heat of the day was officially on. Finally, we found a little side trail that lead to some flat spots under some trees that were casting a glorious shade. It seemed like the perfect spot. Unfortunately, it also happened to be some kind of hotbed of ticks. We didn’t notice until we had been sitting there a while, and I got bit up pretty badly. I must have pretty shitty luck (or just really tasty blood), because Gummies was only a few feet away from me and he seemed to avoid getting bitten entirely. I probably have at least 8 or 9 bites.
I moved over a bit to spot where there didn’t seem to be as many, sulked for a while over my situation, then decided to get over it and laugh about it. I don’t know what kind of ticks they were, but they seemed to just bite you and then go away, rather than embedding, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign. I tried to nap, but kept getting paranoid that ticks were crawling on me. We ended up spending about 4 hours relaxing before finally moving on.
The sun was still pretty high in the sky, and I was sweating while we climbed through a burn area. The trail twists and turns so much, I swear we were hiking in circles. We were only a few miles from camp, but I was super hungry and the sun was still too hot for my liking, so when I found a patch of shade, I sat down for a snack break. I was sooo thirsty today. I only took 4 litres from the water source this morning and I definitely regretted it a bit. I wanted to chug a litre so badly, but I couldn’t. I would give anything for an ice cold soda, which is weird because I don’t even drink soda in regular life. After a while, we finally wound down into a lovely area with grass and lots of trees, and tons of nice flat spots for camping. We set up for cowboy camping, under a nice window in the trees for viewing the stars. We were in our quilts when we were joined by Alexia who was night hiking by. It’s now super late and I definitely need to get to sleep. We’re going to do a shorter day tomorrow, but I’m getting up super early to get to the next water source before the heat gets going.