Mileage 18.5 (16 + 2.5 on the devil’s slide trail)
Mile 179.6 to mile 195.5
Woke and dragged myself from the warm soft bed, shoved my things away, ate a bag of salt and vinegar chips for breakfast. Discovered that I’d left my trekking poles at paradise valley cafe- luckily a very nice trail angel named Rock Ocean was headed from there further down the trail, so I’ll get them at Ziggy and the Bear’s tomorrow. We all crammed into the inn keeper’s car and she shuttled us back to the trailhead. Hiking by eleven. Only a nero but I felt brand new again. We climbed up into the magical pine forest at nine thousand feet, altitude made me feel like I had only one lung but I didn’t care. There was dappled shade and cool forest and way down below the hot baking valley, hazy in the heat. At a stream we decided to make it all the way down to the water fountain at the bottom. 20 miles down, 9 thousand feet to one thousand feet. Halfway down I found a note from the boys- they’d set up camp in the sand next to some boulders, sun setting over everything. They’d given up on NotaChance, our fearless leader. She’s still running down the switchbacks, waterbottles strapped to the outside of her pea-sized pack, bookin it for the fountain, ziggy and the bear’s, canada. We will see her tomorrow, we hope.
It feels decadent to set up on my neo air in the warm desert air after an 18 mile day before it’s even dark. I’m warm in my bag, the wind is blowing. I ate trail mix for dinner, not enough water to brush my teeth. Tomorrow we cross the baking valley, climb back up into the velvety hills.
I want to tell you about our trail gang; soon.
Note: a couple people have commented (and one email) saying OMG YR BLOG THIS YEAR IS NOT AS GOOD AS LAST YEAR. I never meant to blog this year. The exhaustive documentation of my hike has been done- I did that last year. This year I’m hiking to hike, and in order to gain a deeper spiritual understanding of the trail, and my relationship to it. Any documentation that comes out is bonus. I may not post for weeks at a time; I may only post little fragments of my days. Either way, thanks for coming along on the ride.
Photos on instagram.