I was in no rush to get up and hit the trail this morning. It still sounded like it was raining (though it really wasn't). I made breakfast in bed and looked at the topo maps for the day. The sun started to break through the clouds and I thought it was the best chance to stay warm while packing up. I opened my tent to an awesome view. Yesterday evening when setting up, the fog blocked out all views.
After walking a couple miles I finally had cell reception. It has been a while since I've had solid reception on the trail. I'm so busy and rushed in town that in forget to make them. I had a chance to talk to my brother and mom. But I was so cold by the end of those conversations that I had to run down the trail for a bit to get warm. Guess what? No more cell reception. After about 8 very quick miles, a rest area and water source was the stopping point for lunch and drying out some very wet gear (socks, shoes, tent). I took a nice long break so that my feet could rest. My left foot was feeling better, but still not 100%. I think it is hurting from a combination of long days, heavy loads, and worn out insoles. I should be able to pick new ones up in the next town.
The next 6 miles were sunny and warm. I had a few good views of the flat desert below. But the area was completely covered with Poodledog Bush. This stretch is suppose to be the worst of the worst on the trail. In previous year, many hikers would take an alternate around this area because it was near impossible to get through without being exposed to the plant.
The last 6 miles of the day, I was still dodging Poodledog Bush when the weather rapidly changed. The fog and wind were back, then it started to rain. I quickly put on my pack cover and rain jacket and nearly ran to the Messenger Flats Campground. I think my average pace was 3.5 mph for this section. Also there where Widow Maker warning signs everywhere. When I arrived at camp, almost everyone else in the group was already setup. I was cold and caught a break in the weather. I setup my tent in, for me, record time. I think in less than 5 minutes I was in my tent changing my wet clothes.