[Post hike: The hiker on the far left is Stiff – I don’t know how far he made it, but I knew where he worked in Asheville, NC and told him I would visit him. Karen and I did so the November after the hike. It was great seeing him. Sitting up is Aaron, who is from Seattle and made it through Oregon before having to go back home. In the Red is Tule, who I left in Wrightwood and he leapfrogged me when I had to leave the trail in Portland for the wedding. We kept in touch until the end, when he finished a few days before me and we missed each other by only a few hours in Mazama, WA. I met the three of them in Warner Springs and they were there when I was christened as Dirty Gil. Tule is the reason the name stuck. Robin is on the right – I chased him from Wrightwood to the Sierra, where I lost track of him as he probably assumed a trail name after that. I was within two hours of catching him at Hiker Heaven and a day away at Kennedy Meadows. I have no idea if he finished or not and have no contact info for him.]
Most of the day today we have been walking a canyon along the same river. Much of the time we have been high above it, but several times we went right down to it. And when one spot opened up to a sandy beach, it was too much to resist. I think I got there about 11 am and others kept filing in.
I left at 3, trying to get to the next interesting spot, hot springs, by 6 PM. I didn’t get there til 7 and it was quite crowded. The canyon provides very few places for camping, so it was either go a short day or a long one, and I chose long.
Where we stopped for lunch, it was too shallow to swim, but I did go splash around.
Several miles later I did find a good swimming spot, but could not afford the time to do so. The same with hot springs. There’s an actual hot springs that spills into a rock hot tub then into the river. There were at least fifty people there all camping out, even though camping is not allowed. It is also clothing optional, but none of the bathers opted for clothing. Again, no time to go swimming. Also, no time for pictures.
The rest of the day was hiking along the river and crossing back and forth several times. The park service has installed several high and sturdy bridges across the canyon. Makes for good views, that’s for sure.
We pushed on another few miles and I stopped to camp on an old abandoned trail and the others went on another mile looking for a better place.