Started: Stealth Camp (280.0)
Ended: Splinter’s Cabin (298.5)
Total: 18.5 Miles
I managed to sleep well with my makeshift bedding the night before. It did not work last night. I barely slept. In the middle of the night I tried to use my air mattress, but it did not work. The patching kit isn’t designed to fix seams.
In the meantime, this is an opportunity to “embrace the suck”. This is a hike of the PCT, not a weekend at Disneyland.
It is going to be cold the next couple of nights, so I’ll keep the mattress and use it as a very heavy ground cloth due to it’s R-value. There is a good outfitter in Wrightwood.
We were on the trail by 6. As we were about to leave, Little John told me that Candice had camped next to him and left about 30 minutes ago. Candice, now called Mammoth, is the young woman who helped me out on day one with my leg cramps. As we needed to hike 19 miles so Scott, the trail angel we met in Big Bear, was going to host us, I decided to charge down the hill and catch up with her. She is young and fast, and she’s catching her stride. I might never see her again.
With Little John on my tail, I kicked it into overdrive. About two hours later, I caught up with her. We hiked together for a while and talked. She was as happy to see me as I was her, but she was not walking as briskly as she normally does. Honestly, I should not have been able to catch her so quickly.
She stopped to stretch and Little John and I advanced to a water source to filter and enjoy Second Breakfast.
When she got to the water source she admitted that she has struggled with a pain in her hip, and she cannot lift that foot up without ever greater pain.
Chef, a hiker who had joined us, had some topical Vitamin-I for a similar injury. As I walked past Mammoth one last time, I could see the combination of pain and worry in her eyes. She helped me my first day. Now when she needs help, there is nothing I can do.
We hiked through terrain similar to areas I have struggled in the past. Hot, exposed, and thick sand, but the combination of hiker legs, better nutrition, and the promise of a hamburger and milkshake at the end made short work of the miles.
Scott picked us up. After we ate, he took us to a condo. We showered and spent a good hour in the clubhouse hot tub. The pullout bed was much more comfortable than a popped air mattress.
We will sleep in tomorrow and leave for the trail about 11.