I’m not really paying attention the the time anymore… More the time of day. Dawn is a nice time to get up and clean camp up. I think it’s because it’s a little cold out, which keeps you highly motivated to keep moving and not just stand/sit around doing nothing. The hardest part is convincing yourself to get up out of bed.
James, George and I get on the trail at the same time. James took off and won’t be seen till lunch. George tooks his time and lingered back. I think we all wanted to be solo hiking at that time. The morning sunlight was awesome.
Around 5 miles into the day, I stopped to grab a quick bite to eat and stretch. George catches up and decides to wait for me to finish up. Though I was really enjoying hiking alone, Georges company was nice. He’s 20 and worked at a hospital as a scribe (people who write everything you and the doctor say). I always wondered what those people were doing. Have a really good conversation about a lot of things which really helps pass the next 7 miles. It’s not the most beautiful scenery.
We pull off a 12 before 12. That is, 12 miles before noon. Eventually I’ll hit the major ones; 8, 9, 10 and 11. I don’t think I’ll ever be up early enough for the lower ones. But I can’t speak until it’s 115 degrees in the daytime.
At the 3rd gate, famous for the water cache, we see James resting in some shade. We decide to stop, rest and wait out the heat of the day. I earned an awkward blister on my right pinky toe. It was a pretty intense climb to this point.
I make some lunch and we start getting pretty intense on how to lose weight in our packs. Mainly it stems from Matt (Mt. Laguna’s sports supply store) having a base weight of 7 pounds. My 25 is a bit of the reason for the sore feet.
After 3 hours of sitting and waiting we get restless and one by one head back on the trail. I am last as I still needed to go to the water cache to refill. At the cache there is a Army Veteran hanging out waiting for the 4 others in his group. He is part of a experimental program to help vets with PTSD and other similar challenges that arise from battle.
I have 10 miles to my next water source and my goal for the day, Barrel Springs. They were some of the most scenic miles so far and were by far the hardest for me. Whenever I’m tired and out of rhythm, I put Jon Butler Trio’s – Ocean (red rocks version) on and immediately I feel better and get into the zone; this time is no different. Nothing beats the evening sun (5pm – sunset). The best time to be hiking.
I arrive to an amazing site. A fire with a 10-15 people sitting around it. When I walk up we say our hellos and I go setup camp. The moon is bright enough for me to set everything up without my headlamp. Hang out around the campfire till 9:30ish (getting cold and we run out of firewood). Meet a lot of cool people.