Daily Miles: 22
Total Miles: 498
SweetPea has declared that this day is the most unpleasant day of the hike so far (Beardoh disagrees). Here are the bad and good points of the day…we’ll start with the bad so we can end with the good…just the same as how the day went.
For the bad…
1. We slept on the ground last night, which was tolerable, but there were a lot of mosquitos out and we had no netting for protection. Instead, we kept our heads inside our quilts even though it was too warm. Basically this led to a pretty poor night of sleep for both of us.
2. A 12 mile road walk to bypass a section of the trail closed due to damage from a fire three years ago. Road walks are bad for a variety of reasons. Today it was hot and the road offered almost no shade. Walking on pavement for so long makes our feet ache. There are gross things on the side of the road, such as the rotting deer carcass we came up today. And most annoying today was the lack of shoulder in some spots on the road and the Californian driver’s unwillingness to move over on the road to give us some space. Needless to say, we were very happy when the road walk section of today’s hike was over.
3. It seems that the gnats have hatched by the billions. We went through several hours of swarms of gnats today. There are several approaches we tried over the course of the day to deal with the bugs. Mostly we just tried to be “zen” about them and to just be ok with them flying around our faces and landing on our faces. That worked ok, but when they would fly up our noses, there was no was to ignore that. We also tried twirling a pole or a bandana in front of our faces to keep away the bugs, but that was not always possible.
Now, on to the good things of the day….
1. We had really nice trail this morning before starting the road walk. Pleasant temperatures, nice light, and great tread.
2. We came to a ranger station with a faucet this morning so we were able to wash out a pair of socks each and some underwear.
3. There were two trail magic coolers along the road walk. We each took a ginger ale from the first one and a water from the second. They were both welcome and appreciated surprises along the road.
4. Our road walk led us past a convenience store where we each got a cold drink and an ice cream bar. Yum! And one of the ice cream brands was from a company that is in Mexico, which gave is fond memories.
5. We got to camp early and are camped at a campground with some other nice hikers. We had a good time chatting with them when we first arrived and during dinner.
So, all in all, the good certainly outweighed the bad today. We are enjoying a night in our hammocks tonight and look forward to a good night’s sleep. We figure we will have several nights of sleeping on the ground once we cross the Mojave Desert, so we are going to enjoy the hammocking while we can.