Day #2 – April 17th: Lake Morena to Burnt Ranch Camp – Last night as I camped packed in with about thirty other hikers I couldn’t help but miss Maya. An older couple had their tent pitched about three feet from mine and one of them snored just like Maya. I started the day quite early heading out of camp around 7:30am. At about 10 I took a nice break and aired out my feet. The blisters are coming! I planned on staying in a small camp four miles from Mt. Laguna and planned my water accordingly.
Day #3 – April 18th: Very hot today, but amazing views hiking between lush green mountains and dry brown dead ones. So quiet out here with just my breathing, pattering of my feet and the wind. I passed through many burnt areas and stopped at a small camp to refill water and have lunch. I talked with some hikers that I had seen intermittently on the trail so far. I finally decided to use my solar panel and it didn’t work…thanks Obama. haha Ended up spending the night in a giant meadow.
Day #4 – April 19th: Started the day at 6am and the sun was coming in hot already. I need to get a fire tank before my water runs out. The trail is hot and very rocky…like rocks the size of a fist all over the place. Not great for the ankles. It was so hot coming down scissor crossing, my feet were pressing against my shoes from the swelling making them look like blue sausages. I stumbled under an overpass where there is a water cache and time stopped when I laid down. I woke with a fright like you do when coming out of a nightmare. I stood up to grab a Pepsi only to fall forward because my feet would not support me. Luckily, another a hiker named Dan had arranged a ride to an RV Park four miles down the road. I immediately jumped on that idea and within an hour I was showered and soaking my feet in the pool while my laundry was washing. I was also fed a huge, awesome home-cooked dinner. How quickly things can turn around 🙂
Day #5 – April 20th: I decided to wait until 4pm before hitching a ride back to the trail. The morning was rough…woke up to the bottom of my heels looking like giant plums and my toes looking like prunes. I could barely get my Nike compression pants off. One hour later they had shrunk back to a more manageable size. I soon put two and two together and realized that the strap on the compression pants that wraps around the arch of my foot was cutting off the circulation in my feet. Thanks a lot Nike! I cut them off immediately. (Note about the compression pants…I wear them as I sleep to push the toxins out of my leg muscles so that my legs are less sore. That part is working like a champ, but the foot straps not so much) I started hiking at 4:30. It was still hot and I hiked until dusk and took a short break. Then I put my headlamp on and kept hiking. Two hours later I turned around and told Dan matter-of-factly that I was going to make it to one hundred! Night hiking was exhilarating. I felt like a primal nomad…but also a little gangster at the same time since I was bumping Kanye in my headphones….well as gangster as a white kid from western Washington hiking through the desert night with a little headlamp and trekking poles can feel. I saw giant fireflies, spooked up some deer and saw my first snake! Thankfully, it was a tiny baby rattler. Made mile 100 at 3:07 am and 10 minutes later Dan showed up and we set up camp and passed out around 3:30am.
Day #6 – April 21st: Woke up at 6am and started trekking 15 minutes later. Nine miles to my first resupply! I felt so good and energized that I started jogging! Man, I prefer to jog over walking…I always have! We stopped at Eagle Rock and then made it to my first resupply point, Warner Springs. My felt bad and swollen and I’m worried that an infection is happening inside some of the deeper blisters. I spent the rest of the day going though my resupply box, lounging and making calls.
Day #7 – April 22nd: My feet are really bad. I found a giant bottle of peroxide in the hiker box and poured half of it on my feet and watched the reaction…beautiful…but my feet instantly felt better. Dan and I found a ride to a Big 5 twenty miles away, so we’re going to head out there and grab some stuff for feet and a few other small things we need and then the plan is to start hiking around 4 or 5 this afternoon.