Mile 266 to mile 275
Today started out like the last few mornings with a yummy continental breakfast. It is how all morning should start. We then went back to the room to pack up our belongings, take a final shower, and clean the room up a bit. It really is amazing how much trash a couple of people can create. Even on the trail too, when we get to a town we have Zip Lock bags full of trash, days old trash that smells fantastic.
When we went to the Front Deak to check out of the room the hotel dog came running out to say goodbye to us. I haven't mentioned him yet; I guess I didn't expect to get so attached to him. His name is Gem and he is a little white scruffy ankle bitter of a dog. I am actually not sure of the breed but he was cute as could be. Each time we would walk by the Front Desk he would come running out to say hello. I said my goodbyes to Gem and we head off.
On our way out of town we swung by Vons for a couple of things and the Post Office to mail home some shoes that we swapped out. (Mandie sent home her Merrell shoes and is now wearing my Cascadias and I am wearing my Merrell shoes. This is important to know for later on.)
Now that our errands are done it is time to figure out how to get back to the trailhead, the exact point where we got off the trail a few days ago. I found a piece of cardboard in a dumpster behind Vons and Mandie writes on it with a black Sharpie, 'PCT Hikers To Trail'.
Now at the curb, we hold the sign out for approx. 30 seconds before deciding that we are not in a good spot to hitch from. As we are walking to a new spot a lady, Diane, pulls up in her Jeep and offers us a ride. Another wonderful Trail Angel that we have met so far on our trip. She drops us off at the trailhead and drives off into the sunset.
Mandie and I hit the trail again wondering to ourselves, why we are doing this. We talk about how difficult it is leaving a cozy little town knowing that there is pain and struggle in store for us. Despite our downer thoughts we push on.
We only had 9 miles to do today so our pace was kinda slow. Besides, our legs were a bit stiff after being stagnet in town. We took several breaks to stretch and get out of the hot sun. There was only one hill that we needed to climb while the rest of the trail was flat or down hill.
Despite the gentle trail today my feet were killing me. I made a bad decision to change to the Merrell shoes. Why did I make the change you ask... I have almost always hiked in Merrell shoes, day and weekend hikes mind you, and they have been great. I like the support and solid structure of them compared to the Cascadias I was wearing. Well, something must have changed with my feet because I can hardly hike in them now. They hurt my feet so bad. Mandie had the same exact issues with them and I thought I would be different. Nope.
I still did the 9 miles and got to our destination, Caribou Creek. I just did them a bit slower. There is water here so it is a perfect place to camp and refill our water.
Tomorrow we are going to take the Cougar Crest Trail to the Big Bear Discovery Center and try to get me a new pair of shoes. Hopefully somebody will come to our rescue and either bring me a new pair or take us to a store where I can buy a pair. We have put out an APB on Facebook which hopefully somebody will answer. Fingers crossed.
My legs felt great today and Mandie's feet felt great in her new shoes. If we can get all of our feets and legs feeling good at the same time we could really pump out some miles. I know that will happen soon, we just need to work out the last of these kinks. It will happen!