I left town a little later than I like to leave, but it was worthwhile waiting for the post office. I was able to send me a few things home that I have not used in 1000 miles that weighed maybe half a pound and send my broken pole, umbrella, two days of food and a few other food items. Those weighed about five to six pounds. I had the lack loaded with four days of food and two liters of water and it felt like it weighed the same as when I came into town with one day of food and no water.
I was able to sleep pretty well last night with a dozen or so hikers close by. Everyone was quiet and well behaved and probably tired. There was a street light that kept going on and off and the slope I was on made me need to shift around a few times, but with the restaurant not opening until 7:30 I got to sleep in.
I was dressed and at the door of the restaurant at 7:35 and it was already half full. I ordered the hiker special, 3 eggs, 3 pancakes, 3 slices of bacon, 3 sausage links, hash browns, and coffee. I ate every morsel and could have eaten more. I went back and packed and fiddled around the store a bit waiting for 10:00 to arrive. Tick tock.
I was at the post office e at 10:05 and it was full, too. I think I am seeing a pattern here. Hikers all want to eat and mail things. Ten minutes of making a box that would fit the umbrella and addressing my two packages took ten mi utes and I was outta there. One drink and ice cream sandwich from the store and I was finally hitting the road. I didn’t even get two blocks down the road before a truck pulled over and took me to the trailhead. I finished my ice cream and was on the trail by 10:30.
The locals kept telling us the steep switchbacks and exposed trail would have us baking all day. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Nearly all the switchbacks were in thick woods and the trail wasn’t exposed until it got to the top. It did climb some more in the sun, but there was a fantastic breeze. It was not hot, and it was not steep. What it was, however, was rocky and overgrown. You had to plow your way through bushes in several sections. Six miles later and it’s back to the normal ridge walk with rocks, then back into the woods. Rinse and repeat.
Just after getting past most of the exposed hiking, I could see alot of smoke. Great, another forest fire. And it looked like it was right at the end of town or perhaps a mile out of town. Within an hour, there were half a dozen tankers buzzing around the canyon putting it out. They were reply fast on that one.
I hiked until right about 8 PM, wanting to get as much distance as I could from town. I saw a few hikers throughout the day, only one went past me, so the others must have camped a little short of me. We are buzzing around 6000-7000 feet right now, but I know we need to go to 3000 or so either tomorrow or the next day. I hope it’s not hot desert terrain or I will regret sending my umbrella forward to Ashland, Oregon. Perhaps siestas will be making a comeback, but I hope not.