Slow start this morning, as I didn’t sleep too well. Granola with just water isn’t nearly as good as when it’s mixed with dried milk powder. Said farewell to the Polish mom and Denver daughter. They are doing just 10 mile days.
Felt the ache in the footarch I noticed end of yesterday almost immediately. That didn’t make for happy hiking, most painful going down, do good thing today was a going up day. Passed quite a few slower hikers, met a 70 year old in Lycra that had bicycled the trails for 35 years.
Chatted a bit with a pony tailed guy eating a slice of pizza. He offered me a piece but I could not take it. Turns out he had just started from a different trail head, and that there wasn’t pizza delivery on the trail.
With the foot pain I settled into making it to a river about 11 miles in. The plan was to setup the tent, make a hot meal and rest for the rest of the day. When I got there, a young chap named Jack (Lama) was there. I cooled my feet in the stream and we chatted a bit. His father had apparently thrown in the towel the day before. Turns out he was the one leaving the Sam Harris “End of faith” book by the side of the trail. The book I ended up carrying up to the next road crossing. And someone else thought was “a message”. :-)
Since there wasn’t a great camp spot by the river, and my feet felt much better after a cold soak. I trampled onwards. Soon I caught up with two other guys. Pizza man (Jason) and Brant. I rudely inserted myself in the group of two and we ended up hiking the rest of the day together. Ended up doing 23 miles with quite a bit of ascent. Now camped at about 3100m.
Jason is working for the national forest service assessing forest across the country. Brant is a professional cross-downhill skier. The diversity made for some really interesting conversations and stories.
About a mile before camp, thunder and lightning started and we got peltet with rain and hail. My new umbrella got an 8/10. At the campground a group had a fire going that had just survived the rain shower. We joined them, cooked dinner and the normal where are you from, how far have you walked etc conversation ensued. Two girls hiking with dogs had their father bring some food, and I didn’t hesitate too much when offered a sort of fast food hamburger thing with sliced meat. If my watch is correct, burning about 4000-5000kcal a day, I am probably short 2000-2500kcal a day.
The thunder and lightning picked up again and we all dove into our tents. Wild flashes and booms outside.
Having someone to talk to made the miles fly by. Mostly a walk in the woods, although some really cool rock formations. At mile 50 of 500.