Today was a grind of a day.  I had camped atop a ridge and either descended or ascended all day with very little level trail.  The goal was just to make sure I had less than 20 miles into Belden so that I have time to do chores.  I have a package at a trail angels house so perhaps I will have a place to stay, too.

I woke up early so I ate in the tent and was able to get out and hiking by 5:30.  I could use all the extra daylight for all the climbs of the day.  But first, it’s about four miles of downhill to the creek.  The creek ended up being more like a river with a huge bridge over it and ample camping spots on the far bank.  This was the spot I was originally shooting for yesterday, but I thought the descent would be too much so late in the day.  It was very cool in the canyon, but oddly, the ridge I slept on was very hot all night and morning, with no breeze.

I was having some pain in my left pinkie toe, so I stopped to check it out.  It looks like some of the skin near the toenail is dying and causing pain as the shoe presses on it.  There’s not much I can do about it other than cover it up to try to make the skin more supple and wait for the day when the nail falls off.  I put a blister pack on it and most of the pain is gone.  When I get new shoes at Drakesbad in a few days, the new shoes will either make it better or worse.  I can’t wait to find out which.

When I stopped for lunch, I saw the same hiker I have been leapfrogging with and he stopped and we had lunch together.  He is hiking faster to get ahead of his trail family because he will be hiking with a friend from home for a few days at an obviously slower pace and he will let his trail family pass him and he will have less distance to make up afterwards.  He hikes a bit faster than me and I only saw him today because he slept in.  He slept at the creek I was shooting for and said it was muggy hot all night and the creek was hot too.  I guess my ridge wasn’t too bad after all.

The ups and downs went on all the way to the ridgetop campsite I am camped out at now.  I loaded up on water about a mile down the ridge and it was cool and refreshing.  The campsite is among big pines and has mosquitoes, but not as bad as last night. 

I have only 16.5 miles to town, so I hope to get there by 2 PM.  It’s a very steep downhill the last five miles and I’m hoping it’s not one of those too steep trails that beat you up.  I hope I dream of washing machines all night.