Miles: 275.1 to 298.7
Mileage: 23.6; plus, 2.8 miles from the bottom of Van Dusen Canyon Road to the PCT
After we peeled ourselves away from the cotton and comfort of our hotel (which took a couple of hours), we headed up Van Dusen Canyon Road and back to the trail.
The grade going up the road wasn’t challenging, but we were overloaded with food, so packs were heavy. I carried out the leftover Indian food and Richard had enough snacks to feed him for days past our next food drop.
I was nervous about my new shoes. Would the potential unknown evils be worse than the known evils of my Cascadias? A few miles in and I was feeling okay. Only my weird between-the-toe blisters seemed to care that I was walking.
At the trail we stopped to put on sunscreen and then the real miles of the day began. It was already 9:45 a.m.
Not that there was anything to worry about, I soon learned, for Richard was back to his old pre-virus self. He took off down the trail and set a wicked pace for the morning. After an hour or so, I told him that I couldn’t maintain his pace for much longer and he slowed… a little.
The day was great, weather-wise. Blue skies; steady, cool breeze; hot, but not too hot. We made good time pretty much all day.
After the first ten miles, water became less of an issue. We were crossing substantial creeks (for Southern California) every few miles or so.
The major annoyance for me was the black flies that buzzed around my head all afternoon. We’ve been really lucky so far with bugs. Very few mosquitoes, flies or bees. I only remember seeing black flies one other time so far. But I won’t soon forget the flies that tried to commit suicide by way of being swallowed, aspirated or stuck in my eye repeatedly.
We got to camp around 6 p.m. Richard made dinner as I set up the tent. We had spent the afternoon meeting talking to the two most loquacious hikers I have ever met. Therefore, I was exhausted from the chit-chat and ready for the solitude of just Richard, dinner and my sleeping bag.
And for a quick shoe update: after over 26 miles of trail on my new shoes, my feet are sore, sure, but not like they were after only 10 miles in my old shoes. So far, so good.