45.5 to 57
We had a beautiful but sleepless night under the stars last night. Our first go at 'Cowboy Camping' or sleeping without a tent. The stars were out, amazingly warm, and only a slight breeze. We saw shooting stars and satellites streak across the sky. It was wonderful.
The morning started early for us today. We were up around 5:30a and on the trail by 6:30a. Neither of us slept very good last night. My snoring kept Mandie up, I just don't sleep very well while backpacking. Yes, I know that if I was snoring then I was sleeping. :P I am having a hard time breathing at night cuz of a stuffed up nose. I'm sure that had to do with all the dirt around and how dry it is. I do try to use saline spray but that only helps for a little while. Eventually I'll get it down and be able to breath through the night.
We had coffee as usual and a quick snack before heading off. Neither of us have been very hungry the last few days. We heard that happens the first weeks out as our bodies adjust.
We hiked 4 miles to Penny Pines where we stopped under a great big oak tree to fill up on some water and test out our new poop trowel. I got the Deuce of Spades as a kickstarter project that was fully funded. Mike, the owner was nice enough to send me a trowel before the product was put into production. Thanks again Mike!
While getting water and checking text messages and Facebook another thru hiker, Slo Bro, came by to get some water too. We chatted for a bit and then we all headed off. Slo Bro is anything but slow on the trail. Must be an oxymoron.
Our goal after Penny Pines was another 3 miles to Pioneer Mail picnic area. It was a hot morning on a fully exposed trail but we didn't have too many miles to do.
Once at the picnic area we met up with Ingrid and Chris. Not sure if it going to stick but Ingrid has been named 'Permit Princess' because she is always asking people for their permit to do basic things. Silly. She was going to be called 'Permit Nazi' but she is German and so we all nixed that name. Hehe Theresa, a lady who we knew from the Facebook was at camp too. Very cool to finally meet some of these people whom we have chatted with for so long online. I think Theresa's name is 'Pink Panther' because she wears a lot of pink.
As we all sat there chatting the morning away two other ladies showed up that we had only seen once before, Blondie and Dawny. Soon after that, two more ladies showed up, these two we had met before and were part of the group of 5 woman who recognized us on the first day. We call them Di and Carolyn because those are their names. Carolyn's knee has been bothering her and later on in the afternoon she got a ride back to Mt. Laguna for some rest. I hope she makes it back to the trail. Finally 'Happy Feet' AKA, 'In Charge' showed up and it was a big party. Happy Feet didn't like his previous name so he adopted this more fitting one.
We left Pioneer Mail at 3:45 pm en route to Sunrise Trailhead, a 7 mile hike. We didn't think covering that distance would be much of a problem. Especially since we left later in the afternoon. The trail was again, fully exposed and the heat radiated off the ground. So much for leaving early to beat the heat. We stopped for dinner at around 3.5 miles and to get out of the sun. Dinner was cold rice with a packet of tuna mixed in.
Around mile 4 of this leg is where things really started to go south. Mandie's blisters were very painful to walk on so We stopped to asses the situation. I decided to cut a hole in her insole so that there wasn't anything pressing against the blister. We walk on for another 0.1 miles and decided that we could go no further. We dropped packs at a suitable camp site and I went off to see if there was a better site a little further off trail. As I was looking a fellow hiker and facebooker by the name of Brian Adams strolled up and started chatting with Mandie. I soon returned, not finding a better spot, and joined the conversation. Brian seemed like a good guy, and being a more experienced hiker, gave Mandie some much needed encouragement.
After Brian left we set up camp and climbed into the tent. We munched on more snacks and took care of Mandie's feet the best we could. We decided that the best thing for us to do was to get off the trail as soon as we could so that we could rest our bodies in town. The next possible place for us to get off the trail was 2.9 miles away. Mandie was going to have to suck it up tomorrow and hike it. She is gnarly so i have no doubt in my mind that she can do it.