Again, I was of to kind of a late start with me taking the first step of the day by six am. Looking at the elevation curves it was going to be a though day with a lot if up and down. I was questioning if I would be able to make it as I hd to hike longer (or a lot shorter) today due to a stretch without camp sites. However, right out of the bat the trail presented us hikers with nice views in the golden morning light.
After a somewhat strenuous ascent the trail went into a new valley with even nicer views. There were brutal but beautiful rock formations on either side and trees as far as the eye could see at the bottom of the valley. It nearly felt as being back in the Sierras, but without the snow. Who cares then if there is a bit more elevation change?
The trail stayed high in the valley for some miles with continuing nice views. Afterwards it veered of and went through a less interesting burn area. No poodle dog bushes here, luckily. Haven’t seen any sine leaving Southern California for the Sierras, for a matter of fact.
I had had two packages of chocolate for pre-lunch equaling half a pound, because I still felt hungry after having eaten the first one. Resultantly I didn’t feel like eating the real lunch before three pm. There was a lake nearby where I ate and originally I had considered swimming there but dropped the idea to save time. When I was by the lake, however, I reconsidered and changed my mind thinking of the section hiker I met yesterday. Good idea. It was a bit difficult to get into the lake as the bottom was covered with fallen logs and sticks. It was still nice, though. There seemed to be a lot of fish in the lake and I saw a salamander on the bottom.
Reenergized I hiked on, but soon had to pick up water for a long waterless stretch. Met Fish and Sonic, who were also tanking up water. They were planning to look for a novel camp site, while I was planning to go the extra eight miles or so to the next marked camp site. Some of the newfound energy dissipated as I carried my quite a bit heavier pack uphill, but I just took it slowly. Later I saw Fish and Sonic camping, but thought it was a quite exposed site and hiked on. To not overexert my leg I took a short respite and started writing the start of this blog post. Then I walked on and got down to the road leading to Etna. There was a pickup truck waiting next to the road potentially to offer a road, but it drove off when I continued hiking on the trail. I was a bit envious of people going to Etna, but at the same time appreciating my saved time. I’ll spoil myself in Etna, I said to myself. On the other side of the road the trail soon crossed the sixteen hundred mark and ascended to take me ridge walking for a while. I hadn’t seen any other hikers for a long time. I paused to have dinner and had a weird feeling as if I was the only person in the world or at least that mountain. I hiked on as the sunlight disappeared but briefly left behind some red clouds on the sky. I was still wearing my sun glasses, but like that epic day near the I10 I didn’t bother changing to normal glasses.
Not so long after I got to my planned camp site only to find it occupied by a person hanging a hammock over it. I wasn’t that alone after all. I thought that the hammocking hiker was egoistic as he could have hanged his hammock between a dozen other nearby trees without occupying the first camp site in eight miles. I hiked on and luckily the next camp site was only a thousand feet from there sitting somewhat precariously on a saddle. The winds had died down and I wasn’t feeling like hiking on, so I set up my tent there in the faint and fading twilight. What a day!
This days miles: 1572-1602