Friday, April 18, 2014

A Hot Climb - Day 12 (4/16/2014)

Day 12
Mile 114.7 to 127.1
12.4 miles

I mentioned this in an earlier post but in case you missed it, Mandie and I are going to be cutting back our mileage and taking things a bit slower until our feet and legs catch up. We were pushing it too hard before and it was taking its toll. Plus, we weren't really enjoying the hike like we should be. 

Today was a shorter mileage day so we got a later start than normal, hitting the trail around 7:45 am. The trail crossed San Ysidro creek several times as it meandered across the valley floor. As we walked along we encountered another thru-hiker named Pillsbury.  She is named after the Pillsbury Dough Boy, a stuffed animal she has attached to her pack. We exchanged pleasantries and continued on our way. 

The trail then began to climb and climbed for most of the day. We hiked through oak groves and areas covered in manzanita, creosote bush, and chaparral. It reminded me a lot of where I grew up in Agoura Hills. My friends and I would spend countless hours in the hills behind our house playing, building forts, and riding motorcycles. Those days would also be my first encounters with Poison Oak. I enjoyed this part of the hike as it was mostly in the shade. 

This area that we are in gives off a weird vibe to me. I feel like the area is home to a lot of animals, large animals. For that reason I kept a vigilant eye out for mountain lions and of course rattle snakes. None were seen today. 

We took a moment to rest in a Manzanita bush forest when Pillsbury strolled up. She sat down to rest and we spent some time talking and learning about each other. It was time to hike again so we packed up our stuff and continued to climb up and over this mountain. 

It was starting to get very hot out and we were reaching the mid point of our hike so Mandie and I found some shade cast by a huge boulder and tucked into it. As we were getting things out of our packs Pillsbury rolls up again and asks to join us for lunch. We spend the next couple of hours eating and chatting about this or that waiting for the day to cool down. 

Close to 2 pm it feels cooler so we pack up once again and start hiking. Up, up we go, it feels never ending but it eventually levels out and gives our calves a much needed rest. 

Mandie and I are both low on water and we have six long miles to go. We are both starting to feel like crap from lack of water and, well honestly, the food we have packed for this section is not the most nutritious. There isn't anything we can do about it now other than to promise each other that we will buy some better food when we can. 

The miles seem to go on forever and it felt like we would never get to our destination. We finally reached a sign that said our water supply at Trail Angel Mike's place was 100 yards up a side trail. That was like the best sign we could have ever seen. We all but ran those 100 yards to a water tank in front of a house that was over flowing with water. We filled up a Gatorade bottle with water and followed more signs that pointed hikers into the back yard of the house. It was like a white van offering kids candy; we had to go. :-) plus we needed to find out if the water should be filtered. 

There were several other hikers there including Pillsbury; Pillsbury's friends Sasquatch and Strawberry l, Timone and his group of friends. Pillsbury did not feel comfortable staying at this particular Trail Angel's house with all those other people and neither did we. So, we filled up our water bladders, grabbed a couple of sodas (I paid for them.) and headed down the trail until we got to a campsite. Pillsbury was thankful that we got her out of there but decided to camp a little further down the trail from where we are. 

That leads me to our night ritual of getting ready for bed. After making dinner and throwing the freezer bags that we prepared our food in, we get ready for bed. This entails changing out of stinky hiker clothes, which get put into a stuff sack and made into a pillow, and putting on thermal underwear. We then bust out the baby wipes and begin the cleaning process. It usually starts with the feet which, as you can imagine, get very dirty. It is important for us to have clean feet as the dirt can be abrasive and cause blisters. Then we wash our faces and then the rest of our bodies. We put some warm socks on, a jacket, sometimes a beanie, and climb into bed to write our blogs. 

I have talked a lot about our morning routine, I thought I would share our nightly routine. :-)