I was struggling to sleep last night, my tent was on a slant and I was too warm. I was pretty sure I could hear mice all night. Once I figured it out and got comfortable I slept topless and on my belly and drooled all over my air mattress and finally fell asleep.
I let myself sleep until 6 or so and took a while to get ready, leaving around 745. I chatted with Scissors until she had to step off to pee and I continued on. The wind was blowing pretty hard and consistently and I was surprised until I realized I was hiking right next to a wind farm. Duh.
I met up with Shipwreck, Iguana and Rawhide under the i10 overpass before they continued on. We’d done four miles and it had only felt like two because it was so flat, even with the wind. I ate breakfast and thought Cate, Mike and Scissors would catch me but they didn’t, so I hiked on.
The trail took us through some very rural residential areas, passing a yard with a boat, a car, and a van with open doors. The trail crossed several dirt roads. For much of the morning to my left were tall, deserty mountains, and to my right was snow-capped San Jacinto.
I leapfrogged with Shipwreck and Iguana several times before meeting them at the Mesa Wind Farm office, which offers cold water, shade, and sometimes snacks to hikers. Rawhide was there chatting with Isaac, who had worked there for 15 years. I took the time to drink my Gatorade and have a banana and when Rawhide made a move to leave a few minutes later, I followed her. She’s been walking on a rolled ankle all day but she still outpaced me.
There was one really steep climb for the day, and at the top Rachel, who I haven’t seen for several days, was resting and eating lunch. I’d gotten pumped up on a fast song so I kept going down the switchbacks and then stopped in some shade at the bottom. I ate some lunch and as I was getting up to leave, Tarantino came up. Tarantino had to descend off of San Jacinto two days ago because he got altitude sickness and he told me the story – he’d been nauseated and seeing black spots and when he got back to the trail head he vomited. Poor guy. He’s feeling better now and we chatted and hiked together, eventually catching up with Rawhide. We only had two miles to go until our water source and intended campsite when we ran into two hikers, Catty and Hobo, who invited us to share their shade and sit on their foam pads. Hobo has started calling me Burger Babe because I orchestrated the In N Out run last night. They’re really lovely women and they call us all “honey”.
We kept moving until we got to Whitewater Creek and stuck our feet in the fast-flowing water. It was only 430 pm, which is the fastest 15 mile day I’ve done out here yet. I think most of that is owed to the generally mild terrain we had today. I probably could have taken a break and out in more miles – maybe even my first 20 – but I haven’t had a relaxing camp time in weeks (I always show up too late for much camp time relaxation). So instead we lounged and eventually set up our tents. I got a ziplock and rinsed my socks and underwear and Tarantino, Rawhide and I chatted by the creekside eating dinner.
In other fun body news, I think I may have the beginnings of monkey butt, also known as ass chafe. I hope it cures itself overnight because it is absolutely no fun.
The next few days are all uphill until we get to Big Bear. I’m not sure yet if I’ll zero there or just take a nero. But my hunger is really kicking in – maybe because it’s not so hot – and I’m looking forward to making better food choices at my next resupply. (More: chocolate, bagels, cheeses, backpacker instant meals. Less: things that require preparation)