Mile 218.6 to mile 235
In the morning we hiked slowly up the canyon, following the little stream to its source. The clouds blew over and the sun burst through; suddenly we were on top of the hills looking down at the canyon and it was very, very hot. The path was steep and there was no shade. I hiked fast because I only had a little water; I stared at the ground and moved my legs. I am finding my stride, I thought. I am getting faster.
The dusty trail switchbacked down the hills and then, at the bottom, there was a little stream. The stream was clear and the rocks in it were yellow, and it made a burbling sound. A few oaks bent over the stream, making a little shade.
I’m in heaven! I said.
Thyra appeared and we both sat in the water. It was cold and maybe eight inches deep but if we laid all the way down the water would mostly go over us. We turned around in the stream until we were soaked and then the others arrived. I washed my socks and laid them to dry on a rock.
We made lunch in the patch of dappled shade beneath the oak tree. Another hiker named Brian arrived and announced that it was nearly a hundred degrees. He had some tilapia in a ziploc bag that he’d marinated in tumeric and dried and he gave us chunks of it to eat.
“Tumeric is an anti-imflamatory,” he said.
In the afternoon we climbed up the hills again and into a burn. It was still hot and the sun was still bright; I stopped to rest in the shade of a huge boulder and Ben joined me. A moment later Thyra appeard. Thyra has these little straps on her pack that are like slings; a place for your arms to go while you hike. Thyra had her hands in these slings and it gave her the look of having tiny dinosaur arms.
“T-Rex!” I said, and then Thyra had a trail name.
T-Rex stopped to rest with us and handed around a bag of reeses pieces that had melted into an unattractive mass. It was weird, seeing the little insides burst from their candy shells.
“The sensations are all out of order,” I said.
Water was sparse. We were using all sorts of apps and bits of paper to figure out where the water was- the water report, guthook, halfmile’s maps, yogi’s notes. Today they were all wrong. At dusk we found ourselves looking for a place to camp, almost out of water. There was a stream nearby but we couldn’t seem to reach it, no matter how far we walked- or maybe we were just tired from the long day of climbing in the sun. At last we turned a corner and there in a gully was a spring that burbled up from the sand. Above the spring was a flat space to camp. There was already a tent there. Then the flap unzipped and a little head poked out. Toyo! It was Toyo.
We spread out our things in camp and sat on the ground, eating bits of food. We were all running low on food; I squeezed nutella onto a few graham crackers; Ben made instant cheesecake in a plastic bag. Somehow I had eaten a four-pound bag of trail mix in two days, and the others seemed to have been living on bars alone. In two days we would be in Big Bear, where we would resupply.
It was dark now, and cold. I brushed my teeth and spat into the leaves. The stars were out and all the hikerrs were bedded down in their little burritos. I crawled into my own sleeping bag and pulled it up over me. I am happy, I thought.