Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 27 : On The Mend? And Poodle Dogs

23 miles today
2239 miles to go

Awake! It's dark except for the moonlight filtering through the trees making shadow puppets on my tent. It's quiet, completely quiet, except for a distant ho-hoooo hoooo hoooo of some sort of owl. What time is it? What is time anyway? My iPhone says 4:28 am. Close enough, it'll be light by the time I finish breakfast. I forego the coffee this morning. I want an early start. I pack quickly. The next water is in eighteen miles and I have two liters. If I hike when it's cool I won't need to drink as much. 

On the trail before the sun hits the mountain peaks. I check my phone, no signal. I haven't had a signal for a couple of days. No uploads of blogs or pictures. Someday I'll reach a place with service. My knee feels stronger this morning. I think it's getter better. I know what aggravates it and I focus on not doing those things. Don't try to step up first with my right leg, left leg for all lifting. Step over rocks instead of on them with my right leg. I really spend most of my hiking time focused on the trail. The weather system we've had for the last few days has finally blown itself out. The heat is back. I love it! I think my knee likes it too. 

I travel non-stop for eighteen miles. I love doing this. The trail is friendly to me today. My left leg has been on the uphill side of the trail all day. This lets me rest my right leg rather than having to try to climb with it. My right knee has had it easy most of the day. I am almost moving my pre-injury speed without pain! I come around a corner and surprise of surprises. I meet my favorite Israelis, Yamima and Shi. We hike the rest of the way together, getting caught up on each other's adventures. I reach the Mill Creek Ranger Station around one pm. No shade! There is cold clean water though. I wash my socks. I wash my hair. I eat lunch. There are other slovenly thru-hikers here. Sitting at picnic tables in the sun. Water is such a luxury. I rinse out my trail towel and wash my face. The cool water is so refreshing. I sit in the shade of the pit toilet and eat lunch with the Israelis. I enjoy listening to them talk to each other in Hebrew. I have no idea what they are saying but it all sounds so Biblical.

I hit the trail around twoish. My goal is to get as far as I can by four or so. The trail is sandy and uphill. I am finding that my right leg is functional. Close to eighty percent normal. The sand is brilliant white reflecting the Suns glare. The breeze is too strong to use my umbrella so I hide as best I can in the shade of my hat. The breeze feels cool on my sweat soaked shirt. I think these may be my favorite hiking conditions. I feel so much better in the heat than I do in the blowing cold of a few days ago. As I hike up the ridge I check my phone, signal! I stop and step off the trail. I stand in the glaring hot sun and post my blog entries and a bunch of Instagram pictures. Yay!

The trail is traversing the ridge. The sides are steep. Poodle dog bush is everywhere. Oh, have I not mentioned poodle dog bush? In the burn areas the PCT passes through in Southern California the poodle dog bush makes its home. From what I've heard, the rash it gives you is worse than poison oak. Sometimes requiring hospitalization. Touching poodle dog bush could end your hike. At least that what the trail rumors say. I'm not about to touch it to find out. It is a really strange looking plant. Once you've seen it, it's easy to identify. It's sticking out its poison tentacles from both sides of the trail. There are little sneaky ones popping up their branches inconspicuously between other bushes down low on the sides of the trail. Between the poodle dog bush and watching the trail for my knee. Hiking is requiring a lot of attention.

As the shadows lengthen I begin to become anxious. Where will I camp? Messenger Flats Campground is over six miles away. That's way more hiking than I want to do today. The narrow trail hugs the wall. Neither ascending or descending. I stop and pull out my Fritos and salmon jerky. Who know how long I'll be hiking. I may as well eat as I go. I finish the Fritos with a final handful of Fritos dust tossed at my open mouth. Some of it actually made it in my mouth. The rest clung to the sunscreen in my beard. I just left it there. I polished off the salmon jerky with a giant mouthful. I feel a little uncivilized and a lot filthy. Food particles sticking to my face, my feet and legs shrouded in dust. Sweaty and wind blown.

The trail finally peaks at a junction with a road. Just prior to the road is a bushy knoll. Minimal poodle dog bush. Lots of little clear places for tents. Previous Thru-hikers in my same predicament created an impromptu campground. I quickly select an ideal spot and setup my tent. There are hours of sunshine left but I am done hiking for the day. I climb into my tent on top of all my stuff. I remove my shoes and socks and my shirt. I cover my eyes with my pack towel and take a nap. I awake some time later to people speaking Hebrew. For a moment I imagine what it was like following Moses around in the desert. Then I greet my favorite Israeli neighbors. As the air cools I come out of my hovel and sit on a log cooking my beefish quinoa and mushrooms. I chat with Yamima and Shi over dinner. Watching the sunset from my tent. Brownie and Dizzy show up as the sun sets to camp in our little thru-hiker campground. Free to all comers, you just have to hike here to use it.

1 comment:

  1. The remaining clung on the sunscreen inside my mustache. I merely quit the idea generally there. My spouse and i slick off of the salmon jerky which has a massive mouthful. I am somewhat uncivilized and also a good deal soiled.