Today was more tiring than I expected.  It was 12 miles of climbing 5000 ft.  The trail was not as exposed as I was led to believe, so heat was not the major problem, just sweat production and energy consumption.  We have two more similar climbs coming up in a week, so I’ll try to enjoy some mundane terrain for a short while.

I slept pretty well despite a rocky campsite and loud creek.  I woke up early enough, ate my breakfast quiches, and got rolling about 6 am.  Rhett was camped next to me and slept in a little later.  It was warm during the night but cool enough when I set off.

I checked emails when the trail turned away from Belden canyon and another hiker E.T. came by.  We hiked a little over an hour together when we took our first break for a snack, and he whips out a whole pineapple.  Color me surprised.  Apparently the juice bar lady at the festival gave it to him as she was shutting down.  Hikers can’t resist fruit.  But to pack it out instead of eating it on the spot is a little unusual since it probably weighed over two pounds.  He shared it with me so I can’t complain.

There was an abundance of water on the climb up, so I didn’t have to carry much but breaks were required every hour just to recover and dry out.  I was sweating quite a bit, but it only takes ten minutes to dry off out here with the low humidity.

I finally got to the top at 2 PM.  Twelve miles at two versus the usual twelve to fourteen by noon.  Once at the top it was back to the usual ridge walking which had a nice mix of up and down.  E.T. and I camped together at about 7 PM, as we had both had enough and the next bit of terrain is fairly steep and probably hard to find a good level campsite.

Even though I did less than 20 miles today, they were hard miles all morning.  I will try to go to sleep early to ight to catch up on sleep.  We’ll see how early I get up in the morning.  I’d like to do more than 25 so I can be within striking distance of the Drakesbad guest ranch the following day to get a nice meal.  It’s hard to pass up good food when it’s right on the trail.  And I will have new shoes waiting for me, too.  I can hardly wait.