Mile: 41.5 to 61.7
It was still dark when Richard felt the hard-packed dirt below our tent under his sleeping bag. Throughout the night, his inflatable sleeping pad had been ever so slowly shrinking beneath his weight due to a small puncture. He blew some more air into the pad and was able to get through the rest of the night. It must be a very small hole to allow for such a slow leak, he thought.
The morning was chilly and we were reluctant to exit our sleeping bags. It was our slowest start yet; although, with an n of three, that’s not saying too much. We were hiking by 7:20 a.m.
The terrain in the morning was calm. More pines made for ample shade as we made our way north from the Burnt Rancherio campground.
The day’s agenda was dictated by water. The first chance to gather potable water was near mile 6. We filled up around 10 a.m. and moved into the heat of the day.
Richard stopped to pop two blisters on his right foot. The one on his pinky toe was impressive.
By lunch, my feet were hot and I had a blister coming in on my right fourth toe. The residual effects of Chilblans (like a mild form of trench foot) that I developed on the Appalchian Trail, have left me with abnormally swollen fourth toes. Go figure.
On the PCT, I guess that means those same toes are even less happy about being shoved and laced into running shoes in the desert heat. I walked on my blister until camp to give it time to heal overnight (hopefully) after popping it. We’ll see.
After leaving our shady lunch spot, we hiked through the heat. Richard led the way, with me following about 25 feet behind. I saw him stop and look at something on the left side of the trail. He continued on after a few seconds, so I thought little of it. Moments later, I stopped and then retreated at the sound of a snake rattle.
Curled under a low shrub, right on the trail was a six-foot rattle snake. Richard had nearly stepped on it as he walked past. When he stopped to look down at what had sounded like leaves shaking, he was already past the shrub and snake.
I suppose it didn’t feel threatened enough to strike, and kindly slithered away.
About 18 miles into our day, we stopped at a reportedly reliable water source for dinner and a refill of our water bladders. This reliable source was a metal trough of water labeled “for horses only.”
Fortunately, the water was clear after filtering. Unfortunately, Richard had to submerge his sleeping pad in order to find the air leak.
After a little hunting, we found the leak and marked it for patching later.