April 23, 2018
The next day, like most days, was a hot one. The place on my foot where the Leukotape had ripped my skin off was still hurting quite a bit, but I hadn’t noticed the shift in the type of pain I was experiencing. That morning as I was getting ready to put my socks on I looked at the spot and realized that another blister had formed right where the wound was, underneath the skin, and it was BIG. I put a bandaid on the still-healing wound, layered moleskin on either side of it to keep pressure off the new blister, covered the whole thing in Leukotape, and got ready to hike. What else could I do?
Nothing really noteworthy happened that day that I can recall. There were a lot of days like that for me, where I was so focused on the pain and carefully placing each step that I didn’t really notice anything around me. All I could do was keep moving.
We didn’t come to a water source until the Mill Creek Fire Station around mile 418. There was a pit toilet and a pipe with clean, cold water, but the fire station itself was all closed up for the day as far as we could tell. Someone was camped near the pit toilet and it looked like they’d been there for a few days. Were they sick or injured? Whoever it was, they were asleep in their tent, so we decided not to bother them. Ghosthiker wondered if it was Darwin, a hiker with a famous YouTube channel who was rumored to be hiking the PCT this year. I didn’t know who he was, so I just shrugged. I hoped whoever was sleeping in their tent was OK.
Even though the fire station was closed we decided to shed our packs in the shade of the building and take an extended break to wait out the heat. It was early afternoon when we arrived and we lingered for about an hour or so, making early dinners and taking time to camel-up on water.
As far as we can tell from Guthooks, the next reliable water source is the Acton KOA campground, another 25 miles ahead, give or take. Later in the afternoon, we hiked on another couple miles and found some tent spots carved out of a hill with some trees around for shade and wind blockage, which was nice. Sparky and Ghosthiker found some spots further down the hill and Lil’ Bro and I camped closer to the trail. Incidentally, Lil’ Bro has inherited the trail name “Granny” from some other hikers because he opted to wrap a scarf around his head and shoulders for sun protection, but the new name hadn’t stuck for long. There was another possibility floating around for a while but I don’t remember what it was.
Eventually, as Sparky was getting ready to say his name to get his attention about something or other, he stumbled a little on what exactly he should call out. He landed on “Alias” in a spur of the moment decision since Jay had had so many trail names up to that point. It stuck. Jay aka Lil’ Bro aka Alias didn’t hike with us for too much longer after that, finding that his stride matched another group pretty well for the Sierra, but the new trail name stuck as far as we know. Ghosthiker and I still like to refer to him as Lil’ Bro.
Anyway, that evening Alias decided to cowboy camp. We’d been debating who would take which tent site until I had the bright idea to pitch my tent up wind of where he’d be laying out his things.
“I’ll block the wind.” I said, and he laughed.
It was a really nice place to camp, despite being on a hill. The sunset was beautiful and there were actually trees around us. Hopefully, a sign of things to come.