I get up at 6:00 am and we start hiking by 7:30. We find a flat spot to camp by 6:00 pm, set up our own tents, eat dinner and I'm asleep by 8:00.
One night I stayed up to perform surgery on my feet. Those dime-size blisters constantly rubbed against my former hiking boots and became a mountain on my toes to tackle, just like the mountains I tackled during the day to cause this.
I fetched the first-aid kit, sterilized the Leatherman with alcohol swabs, and cut a slit in each one. If you just poke a hole in a blister, the water fills back up.
I started this adventure at 5'3, 115 pounds and I don't think I'll have a centimeter of cellulite at the finish. I've ran away from three snakes and if I had a nickel for every lizard I've seen, I could skip this whole thing and buy a yacht.
The pine cones leaving Mount Laguna were the size of pineapples. One hiker named "Aqua Man" said these are Coulter pine cones which are the largest in the world. Each one weighs about three pounds. He picked up two, one to send back to Alabama and one for his professor. I think I'll pass on the extra weight, however what an awesome souvenir!
At mile 79, my hiking friend David was over all of it. We were ascending on a mountain in the blazing hot desert, when he turned around and asked "want to hitch hike?" I didn't care either way. Why not? A highway sign read 20 miles to Warner Springs. By trail, W.S. would come two days later after covering 30 miles of steep terrain. So I stuck my thumb out on the side of the highway and stopped A black Ford sedan.
I sat in the back seat clinging to my phone and pack in case I needed to jump out or call for help at any sudden second. The driver, Jeff, moved here from Kansas City seven years ago, is a sales rep for a fire protection company, and races motorcycles. Hitch hiking was very foreign to me, but Jeff didn't seem creepy. He said he passed us, then turned around a few minutes later, concerned we needed help.
Cool thing is, we met our first hikers from Oklahoma. Cale and Bobby are from the OKC area. We salivated while talking about QuikTrip taquitos and fountain drinks together. There's also Jake carrying a 70 pound pack because his tree-house alone weighs 17 pounds. WTH??
The women here at the rec center are all retired volunteers with the sweetest hearts who love on you. They cleaned my laundry and fed me a burger. I can't believe my socks aren't soaked in layers of dirt anymore. The ladies set up three power strips and every outlet is charging a phone or satellite GPS.
We're now at mile 109 and won't leave until tomorrow when my rain gear arrives in the mail. A storm is brewing.
The new Salomon Ultra 2 shoes I bought back in Mt. Laguna have changed the game. I no longer have blisters nor pain in the arches of my feet and we are hiking 18 to 20 miles a day. Mary, the sales rep, told me there's a big difference between day hiking boots and thru-hiking shoes.