April 7, 2021
I slept surprisingly well last night even though I had to get up to pee twice. The coffee available in our room was disappointing at best, but the gas station next door had a wonderful coffee bar, so that was an awesome find. Grabbed some continental breakfast, packed up our stuff, and then hopped into the minivan shuttle with Bass to head back to Pine.
Bass got dropped off at the trailhead and Ghosthiker and I rode another two miles to the Post Office, where my new air mattress was waiting for me! Yatta!! I couldn’t have been more relieved to see that fancy Amazon package with my name on it. And I guess it’s been quite a while since I bought my first air mattress because this one is so bright yellow compared to my old one, and the nozzle to blow air into it is completely different. So fancy and new! It felt like Christmas. I quickly packaged up my old mattress and mailed it to the manufacturer to (hopefully) get repaired. I’m quite attached to my old one, so I really hope they can fix it for me.
After that, we buzzed over to the Ponderosa Market one more time to grab some easy sandwiches and cookies to pack out for our lunch. Even after two zero days and one nearo, we are just so hungry! We met a couple hikers named Compass and Snow lounging outside the market and chatted with them for a while. Apparently, Ghosthiker met Compass back in 2017 on the AT, where he asked her to take his picture at McAffee Knob. He thought she was a day hiker! Snow is pretty cool, too. I’m jealous of how pretty and put together she looks for a thru-hiker already halfway along a trail. I am so wind-burned and covered in scars and my hair is so frizzy! You definitely won’t be seeing me in Hiker Vogue anytime soon, lol! But self-deprecation aside, Snow was super-nice, and I hope we run into her again. Compass, too. Really sweet guy. Eventually, we bid them farewell and hiked the short road walk to where the trail picked up at the Pine Trailhead.
This marks the start of the Highline Trail, which I guess is a popular hiking area because there were lots of really friendly day hikers out today and the trail leading out of Pine was really nice. Smooth and gently rolling pine forest, and scree-free! Five stars, would hike again! Definitely a great way to restart our hike after such a long break.
We didn’t feel any need to make any serious miles now that we’d tackled the longest, driest stretch of this hike, so we took it easy today. Only 13 miles or so, and there was plenty of water along the way so we didn’t have to carry too much at any given time. Good thing, too, because our bags and our bellies were pretty full of food!
We camped at Bray Creek with Joe Dirt, Tweety, and Sonic, as well as several other hikers whose names I didn’t catch. I really am rubbish when it comes to remembering names. I didn’t end up eating my sandwiches for lunch, so I ate them for dinner. The one thing I didn’t manage to find during all our long rest days was a new fuel canister! I couldn’t believe it! Not even at Walmart. Even the Big 5 outfitter several miles from our hotel said they didn’t have any. We have about 80 miles from Pine to Mormon Lake and if I don’t cook any of my dinners, I should have enough fuel to make coffee in the morning, and nothing else. I’ll make it work.