81.6 – 101.1
i’m not cold at night, maybe even too warm. i sleep with my quilt open & my feet draped out. “uh-oh,” i think.
last night in camp zippy explained that her secret to speed is 10 miles before 10 am. so this morning 10 by 10 is my mantra. i’m up & out of camp before 6:30 which is my earliest yet. i’d still like to get moving a little earlier because WOW it gets hot fast. the switchbacks from last night continue this morning, it’s all desert ridges & mountain views & cactus flowers. i leapfrog with a few different hikers throughout the morning & my heart feels happy to be around other people.
flies plague me all morning, i bat them away with one hand & hold onto my trekking poles with the other. when i come to the water cache at mile 91 i sink gratefully into a shaded clearing to sit out some of the heat. i hear horse hooves & stand up to investigate. i talk to gary the horseman for awhile from inside my grove & finally venture out to pet BG’s soft muzzle. i have lots of questions about what even it’s like to do the trail with a horse. “how far ya headed tonight?” he asks. “barrel springs, hopefully,” i reply. “well,” he says, wheeling BG around, “you get there & i’ll buy you a beer.”
i mean to stay longer in the good cool shade but after three hours of resting my feet i’m antsy & take off into the next ascent. today my head actually feels like a good place to be. i play with spacing out & guiding my thoughts in positive directions & i like the way i feel. the afternoon’s 10 miles are long but not unpleasant & i actually am able to enjoy the solitude.
around 5 i start looking, phone in hand. this time i know what to expect & when i see 100 spelled out with rocks i stop, drop my pack, & call josef. barrel springs where i had planned to camp is cool & shaded & the trickling of the water into its trough is comforting. there are already a few hikers setting up & as i filter water & eat bites of snacks for dinner more hikers begin to arrive. by the time that i’m ready for sleep there are nine little tents set up in our clearing. i am so happy to be around people & i fall asleep to the croaking of frogs & the water & the nearby freeway.