Miles today: 12.5

Trail miles: 465.5

Elevation: 4169

Spinning on the turntable: CCR: More Gold

Up and down, up and down. That was the theme this week. Up a mountain, down to the valley. Repeat. I don’t mind when it’s a long slow stretch, but summiting and descending each day is challenging.

This morning was a uphill grind of about 2,000 feet over four miles. I started a little later than normal at 8AM and quickly realized that I need to change up my game as we move closer to the desert. I wake up around 5:30 each day and lay quietly until about 6:30. I may just set an alarm for 5AM to get the ball rolling earlier.

The climb was almost fully exposed to the sun with little shade. I had planned for this to be a shorter mileage day, so I took my time and worked on my social game with fellow hikers. I drank about 2 liters of water within four miles, which is a bit much by my normal drinking habits.

I stopped and filled out a trail registry for the first time. (Noelle signed the previous logs for us.) So this was my first.

I hung out and looked through previous entries from this year and then prior years. I realized with a jolt that I could find Darwin or Dixie in these pages. I quickly scanned for a few minutes and then gave up. Some folks drew pictures, wrote poems, offered up prayers or wrote silly stuff. I just wrote our names.

I found the log book a little overwhelming. So many lives intersecting in these pages, each with their own story. I kind of wanted to just sit down and read through all the notebooks, but opted to continue hiking.

I chatted with a hiker who had the tiniest pack I’ve seen yet. Base weight of five pounds. Five pounds! He was fully loaded with food for seven days of hiking so his weight was 20lbs. On a hot day like today I envy the UL hikers. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so I’m curious what he has for rain gear. He didn’t even have a sleeping pad. Ouch.

Anyone know what this is? I asked a couple of hikers, and Noelle, and we don’t know. One of the other hikers said he saw it earlier on the trail. It seemed perfectly placed on the log so I’m not sure if it was imported and discarded via another hiker.

The trail is full of day hikers who smell so clean and fresh that it’s a little intoxicating to be in their proximity. (Don’t mind me, I’m just getting high from the fresh smell of Downy in your clothes!)

It’s odd to be out here on my own. In the current bubble that I’m traveling most of the hikers are in their early twenties. Almost everyone is friendly, but, I’m a bit of a fish out of water. I have no “tramily” so I’m floating on the periphery of most groups just a bit. I need to locate the tramilies for introverts, but I read that it’s a very quiet group.

We were traveling along in a older group of hikers for a few days (aged between 50’s and 60’s) but it was a bit of a sausage festival. Too much testosterone and chest thumping for my preference. I prefer a mixture of ages and gender.

I was happy to see Noelle hiking up the trail in the afternoon as I was hiking down the trail. We headed back down the trail and went to a nearby Mexican restaurant via the “Pleasure-Way”. Yes, there are benefits to a camper van!