April 19, 2018
I slept through my alarm and didn’t wake up until 5:20am the next morning. I immediately leapt out of bed and started getting ready, thinking we were running really behind (everyone else was still sleeping, that should have tipped me off). After 20 minutes of hurriedly getting myself and my stuff around as quietly as possible, Ghosthiker, who had been watching me for a few minutes, casually said, “Anxious to get going, Trooper?”
“Don’t we want to grab breakfast and get moving before it gets hot?” I asked.
She said no, not necessarily. She’d checked the weather last night and it was actually going to be pretty chilly today, so there was no sense in hitting the trail early. Since we’d be carrying 5-6 liters of water and hiking mostly uphill all the way into Wrightwood, this was good news. I calmed my pace a little and we walked over to enjoy the hotel breakfast as soon as it opened at 6am.
After letting my feet air out all night, Sparky showed me how to build up strips of moleskin on either side of my open wound and more painful blisters in order to relieve the pressure on them when I walk. It worked wonderfully. My feet felt much better that day and I did really well the whole 15 miles we hiked.
It was primarily uphill, which was rough with the amount of water we had to carry for the 23-mile dry stretch, but uphill climbs are always easier for me than the downhill sections of the trail. There were some points where we were walking on top of a ridge and could see the mountains in either direction and the highways below. It was spectacular. Ghosthiker and Sparky were faster than both me and Lil’ Bro most of the day, and it was the first day that Lil’ Bro really pushed himself hard in order to keep up with us, he said. Normally he just strolls and we see him eventually. I told Ghosthiker we must be a pretty fun group of he’s willing to push himself to stick with us.
Ghosthiker had been right about the weather. The day was surprisingly cold and windy. Hiking warmed us up but each break made us cold again, so keeping a regular body temperature was a chore. The cold probably helped my feet, though. Near the end of the day, we weren’t actually sure where we’d camp since it didn’t look like there were any tent sites coming up for 4 people, but we found a really great spot that was marked for two tents on Guthooks, found a stealth tent site right next to it and well hidden by manzanita trees, and ended up clearing one more spot for Lil’ Bro, who chose to cowboy camp. We all huddled near the tents to cook and eat our food out of the wind, then crawled into our tents (or bag, for Lil’ Bro) for the night.
I decided to take the Leuko off so my feet could continue drying and healing, and another piece of skin almost came off with it. I guess the skin on the balls of my feet is pretty tender from not getting any air under the tape still. Tomorrow I’ll try just putting moleskin where I need it to reduce pain and see how it goes. I need to lay off the strong adhesive until my feet dry out really well. So far, building up moleskin around my bad spots seems to be working really well, but I needed to build it up again every day because the moleskin broke down and flattened as I hiked. It was a small price to pay to relieve some of the pain.