A long day but a good day today.  And don’t look at the mileage, I did not do 35 miles today, it was actually 27, but I was done by 6 PM.  There was an alternate trail today that was the old PCT that a group of us took because it had more water than the PCT and was 8 miles shorter which meant we could get to shelter cove resort tonight instead of tomorrow afternoon.

The group I was with last night are all earlier risers than me, so I was the last one out of camp.  Since I had only one and a half liters of water to go eight miles, I was checking every road crossing to see if there was a cache just as backup.  At a road crossing six or so miles into the morning, I see register entries about an empty cache.  Darn.  But I also see entries about water down the road to the right and there also being an alternate trail that used to be the original PCT and that it was flat, had lots of water, and eight miles shorter. 

Hmmm, the prospect of getting to resupply a day early definitely had my attention.  The next water on the alternate was three miles further than the PCT, and I had half a liter left.  That was just the right amount to go another hour, so I decided to take the alternate.

As soon as I got to the intersection, I saw an arrow pointing down the alternate.  It must be a recommended alternate.  As I hiked down it I saw tons of fresh footprints, so it must be a popular one.  As I approached the water, I found the group of four hikers I was hiking with yesterday resting on the side of the trail.  Perfect.  They had seen the register entries as well and also noticed it was marked on the Halfmile maps.  I had noticed that the Halfmile app knew the trail and had all the trail junction and water waypoints.  Double perfect.

So the five of us trucked on down the trail together, Ireland and Shiloh in the lead, with Gator and Nuthin shortly after, and me slowly getting further and further back.  When they stopped, I stopped, when they ate, I ate.  The trail was extremely dusty, so I preferred to be pretty far behind them.  But even if I wanted to, their pace was just a tiny bit too fast for me.  And my left foot was getting sore and possibly getting a blister, so I didn’t want to push too hard.  It was a very nice combination of hiking with others, yet hiking alone.  I will probably see them quite a bit over the next week, but won’t see them again after I have to head to Portland to head home for the wedding.  They will all finish a week ahead of me.

I hit the store at about a quarter after six and the store closed at 7 PM, so I had to make my choices quick.  I needed two days of food, but Shiloh and Gator had extra food in their resupply boxes, so I decided to wait until morning to shop for resupply and only focused on dinner.  I bought a hot dog, hamburger, salad, two sodas, a cookie, and a half gallon of ice cream.  Sounds like alot, right? I saved the salad and sodas and cookie for breakfast, but ate the others.  And while sitting there, campers brought us London broil tacos, a box of apples, and a box of pears.  I had one of each.  (Late update: a bag of small plums showed up, so I ate two and grabbed five for breakfast)

Shiloh and Gator opened their boxes and between the two, I have two days of food, so I actually don’t need to buy anything from the store in the morning.  I have enough food, so I’ll probably sleep in a little bit, and if I’m still here at 7 am when the store opens I’ll probably buy a pastry and a milk and head out, otherwise I’ll probably just head up the trail.  I may be able to catch up to the others tomorrow night, or it might take me two days, but I’m pretty sure I will catch them before the next town.  They are very predictable.  They hike 25 miles, then camp.  Doesn’t matter if they get there at 3 PM or 11 PM.  When they hit 25, they stop.  I have been doing closer to 28, so I should be within six miles of them when I set out.

They have showers and laundry here, so I decided to pay the $10 to camp and take advantage of the facilities.  The shower was $1.50 for three minutes, so the feet did not get sparkling clean, but I can see them again, so that is nice.  When I went to do laundry, I forgot my soap, so I had to go back to camp, about 20 min walk.  When I got back to laundry again, I put my coins in the dryer slot, not the washer slot, and I was fifty cents short for both, so I had to go back to camp again to bum fifty cents off another hiker, so it took 45 minutes just to start my laundry, and now it’s another 43 minutes for the wash.  Who knows how long I will have to wait for the dry.  (Late update: 45 minutes)  I may not get to bed until after 11 PM tonight, so know knows how long I will sleep in tomorrow.  As I write this now from the porch of the store, the wash is about to finish.  I hope the rest of the evening goes smoothly.