Normally I snooze my alarm once and the second time it goes off I open the air went on my sleeping pad. That gets me up because the ground is hard and cold. Well not today as the ground was neither, so I fell asleep again and slept longer than expected. Not a catastrophe as today would probably not be that demanding, I thought. Most other hikers had already left despite it being still before sunrise. I think the people who remain and already have made it this far are quite motivated about getting to Canada.
First there was a short ascent after which the trail flattened out and stayed like that for most of the remaining day with a nicely soft trail. Mid day there was a longer waterless stretch and little coverage because the trees had burned down some years ago. That made me rethink if I had brought enough water, but it turned out that I had.
I had been walking for a while in the burnt area when I heard a sound like a large animal exhaling deeply through its nose. I froze momentarily and and all the hairs on my body stood up. I looked over my right shoulder and saw to my surprise that it had been the flapping of a hummingbird. Phew! What a jump scare.
The landscape was very volcanic, but there was no geothermal like yesterday. One thing I did see, though, was a a hole from where the roof of a hollow lava tunnel had collapsed.
I had not planned how long I wanted to go as I wanted to see how my legs were doing. Still no problems with the left one but the right calf was had started to hurt a bit, possibly because I had been over exerting it to ease the other. I was much less worried about that as it was not the same problem, but still, it would have been better without it. For a while I contemplated going just twenty miles to take it easy. However, that would put me in a pretty bad position to a notoriously warm and waterless stretch tomorrow, so I ended with the alternative that was to do twenty seven miles, though that was longer than I had wanted to go. To make it more bearable for my legs I walked slowly and took longer breaks. That worked well and the pain had not progressed as I reached the destination, which was the “Old Station Fill-Up”, a gas station in a minuscule town called Old Station. They were letting people camp behind it by some picnic tables. I bought a coke and had it with my dinner. After that, I went to the nearby JJ Café and had a milkshake there, which they were famous for in the hiking community. I had one with something called marion berry, and it was in fact very nice. I sat together with two middle aged male hikers, who had come a bit earlier. One of them, “JC”, was a triple crowner and had done the PCT twice before, but long ago. They were both limping quite badly, but were none the less they had hiked as far as me and were in a good mood. I went back to the gas station and camped.
This days miles: 1350-1377