Woke up this morning around 530 but stayed cuddled in my tent. It was a little cold out, and also on easy terrain days without the hot heat Rawhide and I haven’t found it necessary to get up super early. Eventually I started getting my pack together and went to the bathroom – ah, the simple pleasures of being able to poop in total privacy and throw the TP away. I was on the road briefly before Rawhide at 7am but I quickly stopped in the middle of the trail because I had cell service and proceeded to click around the internet.
In under an hour we hit mile 300. I tried to take a selfie of both of us with my SticPic but the sun wasn’t cooperating so I have a few goofy photos of both of us and then a decent one of just me. We didn’t pause to reflect on our accomplishment because we had one goal in mind: Hot Springs.
We reached the Hot Springs at around 11am and saw a bunch of people there, thruhikers and dayhikers, and many of them were naked. We ate lunch and then I kept bugging Rawhide until she came with me to get in the Springs. I went in in my underwear and my bra and shirt, not so much for modesty as sun protection (although I am not quite up to nudity around a bunch of hikers I will likely see down the trail yet). The Hot Springs were amazing. Shipwreck and Iguana joined us and a girl named Helen I’ve seen a few times was there too. I got hot quickly and climbed out and laid in the sand and took a nap while other hikers filtered – we saw Mousetrap, Rachel, Twerk, Hobo and Catty and many others. Hobo and Catty says Scissors wasn’t far behind but we waited and didn’t see her.
But the Hot Springs were magical and a wonderful treat. It’s one of the first days I lounged for the sake of lounging and took my time and got to hang out somewhere really beautiful. I think I need to try to incorporate a “Hot Springs moment” into as many days as possible so I have something to look forward to and enjoy other than collapsing in my tent at night.
Eventually Rawhide and I got our things together and set off for the next 4.5 mile stretch to water. We continued to walk the ridge line on basically flat ground the whole way.
Rawhide was feeling pretty tired and we decided to try to camp near the water source. But once we got there she said, what do you want to do? And I said I don’t care, we can try to find a place to camp (our maps suggested there was no camping) or we can go to the campground in another 5 miles. I think she thought I wanted to push so she said let’s keep going, but she was clearly tired and kept saying she was feeling grumpy, especially because her phone was dead and not charging, and as soon as we started moving I could feel how unmotivated I was and how sad my body was to be moving again. She pulled off the trail to grab some water and the area was flat and sandy so I said – let’s just camp here. And she said okay. So we did. It’s 730 and I’m already laying on my back in my tent and the sun isn’t even down yet. Some hikers kept going because they heard you could order pizza at the road a half mile up. I made a gross dinner (Parmesan couscous and tuna) that was super disappointing and I packed half of it away. But luckily it’s only a day and a half to Cajon Pass where there’s a McDonald’s and therefore a trash can.
I’m really liking my new shoes, though I do have to cut open the pinky toe area yesterday. My ankles are still stiff in the morning but they don’t seem to hurt as bad warming up with the new shoes, and I’m going to try to stretch even more to hopefully get them to calm down.
I had an interesting moment of clarity on the trail today where I felt really strongly that I didn’t want to go back to a “career” type job when I go home. In fact, part of what motivates me not to quit is how little I want to go back to “real” life. But who knows how I’ll feel at the end of the trail, or even a week from now.
I also spent about 45 minutes arguing with Mark in my head about something that hadn’t happened, so my brain isn’t super reliable is what I’m saying.