Tr 2000 – a poem

Clean and unbearded

the Punters commenced

their fine journey Northwards

from the big iron fence.

With water a-plenty, in spite of the lack

they were soon at the Kick-Off,

too late to turn back.

Not that they would have.

They walked mountains and prairies and riveted steel,

from many an Angel

the Love they could feel.

(Especially Devilfish and the Anderson’s)

Like small rows of larvae

they slept under the stars

while the Starmen gazed down,

from on high and afar.

Through the heat of the desert

they walked under the moon

tin whistle and iPhones

playin’ their tunes

Altitution to flowers and water

and passes

where they hid from the lightning

and fell on their arses.

(a lot)

Their bodies got stronger

they called themselves Trash

Their staples were chocolate and

ramen and mash

A blaze on a board, a stump

or the bark

if not, Let Me Just Check That

was the oft-heard remark

Poles used for javelin, twirled,

maybe thrown

They ate trout, swam in lakes

And wore nature’s crown

Through pain, joy and birthdays

they did it all

a brother or sister

soon there

should you fall

relying on Other

was not what I knew

this was my learning

as my trust grew

I relinquished control

and swam with the tide

while accepting my place

in this wonderful tribe

Fuck the rhyming

I went to the woods

to push myself harder

wasn’t lost, bent or broken

desired no cure

but now find that

an unknown wound

was scratched open

then healed

not only by The Nature

but by people

which was the surprise

life is a gift

beautifully

strangely

sometimes painfully

wrapped

I love you all

my hikertrash family

I am Nightwalker

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2018, the first month

As I type this, using fingers that seem so much more sausage-like using the tiny keypad tiles on my iPhone, I am sitting on the edge of my bed – yes, bed, soft, comfy bed – at the Anderson’s, trail angels who live two miles from PCT mile 478 in a property called Casa de Luna aka Hippie Daycare.

More about that soon.

Right now I’d like to talk about my first impressions of round two of hiking the PCT. The first difference that I’ve pondered as I hike is that I no longer resent signs of civilisation. In 2015 I remember a sense of dismay at the sight of power lines, crossing train tracks or hiking under a highway overpass, as if these man-made landmarks could and would somehow detract from my overall experience.

Then there’s my completely relaxed attitude, a contrast to the constant undercurrent of mild anxiety I felt three years ago when all things PCT was The Great Unknown. Bears. Mountain Lions. Giant bees. Rattlesnakes. Stream crossings. And what about the snow?! A Melbourne girl, I was so afraid of the idea of snow. Snow belongs on a nice slope that you drive to in your car for a day of tobogganing, leaving it behind at the end of the day when you return to your warm home tired and happy, planning to go again next year. This day at the snow has no dangerous ice bridges, freezing cold water gurgling underneath waiting to claim the foolhardy woman who thinks she can be a thru-hiker.

There’s the people. Your tribe. A person one meets and connects with, and suddenly they’re behind, or in front. But…..but……I liked her or him! We shared deep thoughts and feelings and our life stories. Don’t go! Stay and be friends. Maybe I can slow down. Or keep up. Oh! humans and our vulnerabilities…..doncha just love us?

I no longer feel this angst. I noticed it only retrospectively last time and it was only that – something I noticed and noted and found interesting to process.

Moving away from impressions and feelings to the more practical aspects of being away from home on an adventurous endeavour. A terrible and sad thing happened: a very dear friend died suddenly in the first ten days on trail, and I couldn’t do anything except keep hiking. So I did. And in doing so I left my tears in the dirt. Interestingly in 2015 I saw not one hummingbird that was not attracted by a bird feeder. In the two days after I heard of my friend’s death on three seperate occasions I was sitting side of trail resting on a rock or whatever, when a hummingbird came and hovered for a few seconds right in front of my face, looking at me before flitting off. Each time, that experience brought the tears fast and hard, and thanks, Nature.

That just about brings us up to speed on what I wanted to say about the trail so far, so….

After tearing my plantar fascia on day three coming into Mt Laguna I decided that I hadn’t – torn it, that is – and merely had plantar fasciitis. So I took extra zero’s, elevated and iced and stretched and rolled, and taped and kept hiking.

In Idyllwild I saw a physiotherapist, Bill Whitman, who serendipitously possesses the right communication skills to give me information in such a way that I am enabled to arrive at a correct conclusion myself, in my own time. Such as my plantar fascia is torn and I need to actually stop hiking to allow healing.

I contact Terrie Anderson, who alongside her husband Joe opens her property to hikers every year, providing a large shady area to sit, space to camp in the magical manzanita forest out back, a device charging station, breakfast and dinner every day, lifts to and from the trailhead, and hugs. And that year’s PCT Class bandana, a gift from Yogi, Gotago and Cupcake from the PCT Class of 2002.

Coincidentally, Terrie tells me that the previous Monday she fed 92 hikers dinner with one helper and that both her helpers are leaving the following Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Yes, please come! she says.

The plan is that I stay at Casa de Luna for two to three weeks while my foot heals, and help out while I do. Once I made the decision I felt peaceful about it. I hire a car in Big Bear Lake and drive to Palmdale, where Terrie picks me up.

So here I am! Pancake flipper and taco salad maker extraordinaire. Off trail and still, with my tribe.

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The Famous Five at Smuggler’s Cove

May 17th 2015.

Some time around mid-morning we girded our loins to brave Civilisation – that being anything existing outside of the safe, warm womb-like interior of my tent, or in this case, an American-sized queen bed in a dim hotel room. As we were hefting our packs…….sorry. Gotta stop there. I really like the word ‘heft’ but to be honest, round about now we don’t ‘heft’, we sling. So, slinging our packs into the Uber car that was taking us to Cajon Pass, I – or possibly Just Keep Walking, I can’t remember – noticed an eagles’ nest atop the Hotel sign. The nature is everywhere.

And so, to the Enid Blyton reference. I freely admit that my misleading post title is based on a childhood fixation on Living In Books. On this section of the Trail there was no Cove, and definitely no smugglers were in evidence although had there been, we most surely would have apprehended their greedy arses and taken their whiskey and pieces of eight. Point being, now we are five. This occurred after checking in to Cajon Pass Best Western, presently being joined by Beth and Jamieson and their friend – now mine – Rock City. From Detroit, obviously.

 

After supplementing our resupply from the gas station and buying dinner from Taco Bell (inside the said gas station) Beth and I deposited ourselves in the jacuzzi, where we stayed for a long time. The following day was spent shuffling to and from the gas station for food, doing washing and drying and watching the last eps of Mad Men. Sitting on top of a washing machine on the motel landing we met Blackfoot, wrapped in a towel, waiting for his clothes.

On the 19th we left Cajon Pass via a duct under the freeway, ascending ever upward into the dry mountains. We stopped for lunch at the water cache maintained by TrailRatz – thanks guys!!! Later in the afternoon we came upon first Taxi then Animal in quick succession, Taxi’s lazy drawl emanating from the foliage beside the trail like the Cheshire Cat. Animal was an older guy, a Vet, hiking in spite of chronic pain from leg injuries, or maybe because of them. Beth and I leapfrogged with Animal for the rest of the afternoon, our concern for him growing in direct relation to how often we found him lounging around trailsides, like he was in a magical broccoli forest rather than an armada of dreaded poodle-dog. Today’s highlight was reaching the trailhead to find a note from Jamieson and Just keep Walking along with some cans of Pepsi – trail magic from Pepsi Ed.

Our campsite on this night was lovely – pine needle-soft, a view of the desert mountains to our right and entertainment just downhill, in the form of Animal who made periodic, loud and unexpected remarks and insults about our conversation – mainly, Cheryl Strayed. Something to do with her drug use and the anonymity of her sources being possibly compromised by her memoir. Misguided concern, I’m sure, but we loved it. He who had previously been pegged as a mild-mannered fairly nondescript gentleman had turned out to have major opinions! Attempts were made to goad him further but with the settling of the sun, we too settled, the stars providing a canopy to mind our small forms while we slept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In which I own my shit

Hello, you out there! If there is anyone left……..

So. I used to be a good blogger. Well, ok – not sure about ‘good’, but certainly an avid blogger, at least. Somewhere on the Trail I lost it. And I’m sorry. You trusted me to tell you my tail, and I just……fizzled out. As a blogger, I make a great hiker.

I do know what happened, though. In all my previous travels I have kept a written diary. It’s what I do – I write, and draw. A pen, a pad. Simple. Every night, into bed I get, pen at the ready, my mind making sense of the day just past. But on this hike, I was so weight-conscious that I took only the bare essentials. Pfffft let’s not kid ourselves; iPad – NOT an essential. I could easily have left this behind and taken a pad and pen to scribble with. but I knew not what I was doing. I fully expected myself to remain the creature of habit I was, with only slight variations. I fully expected myself to adhere to the rules and boundaries I had determined for myself.

The Trail beat me. I blame not having my usual writing material, but in all honesty I don’t know if I’d had just a pad and pen if I’d have managed to keep up with my blog then. OK, yes. I think I would have. I found the difficulty in typing frustrating. I found the lack of service to upload posts even more frustrating, and photos? well……just impossible. But Carrot did it! Yah……SHE is a legend – I am not of that ilk.

So, again, I’m sorry. I’m writing this to tell anyone who is still around that I am slowly recovering from one of the most profound experiences of my life, and that I am committed to finishing this tail, not only to keep my end of our unspoken bargain, but for my own benefit.I think it will help me, as it usually does – to write shit down.

After we did the 40 miler we stayed in Hysperia overnight because Cajon Pass Best Western was full. We ubered to Cajon pass next day, and that’s where I’ll pick up this story, in the next few days. Where I can’t remember I’ll be honest and say so, what I CAN remember…..well. We’ll see. I did make some notes so will not be relying totally on memory. What I am sure of is that I reached Canada just before midnight on October 3rd – yes, night walking, – and will endeavour to record how I got there, over the next few weeks. It was a wild ride.

 

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The Legend of Jolly Pionjar

Once upon a hike in the small picturesque village of Idyllwild a fair maiden was attacked by a fearsome dragon (untrained, probably hungry dog). The maiden’s name was Jolly, after the Jolly Ranchers she handed out at Mile 100, and Pionjar, after the magically perfect round holes often found in rocks. How do they get there? What manner of creature can make such a perfectly round, deep hole in a rock? Anyway that is another legend altogether. The dragons’ bite broke the skin on Jolly’s arm, necessitating a visit to the village healer. The villagers were very helpful and carried Jolly to the healer on a litter garlanded with flowers. At the healer Jolly was bled by leeches ( prescribed antibiotics) and sent on her way. The dragon lived, all the villagers lived, and Jolly Pionjar herself, lived to hike again. And did.

And that is the Legend of Jolly Pionjar.

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Taking Personal Bests to a new level. 40 miles? Okay….

May 15th – I was so cold last night that I could not stop shivering. Even focusing on my breathing stopped me for only 5 minutes or so, before my teeth started chattering again. JKW and I had agreed to share a tent if either of us got in trouble with being cold, but this is the desert! I still have the Sierras to handle. This was just a little snow and cold! I was determined to handle it myself. Eventually I pulled both liner and bag up over my head, and my breathe warmed up the area around my head at least. I know I must have slept for at least 4-5 hours. Waking up at 8 I sat in my sleeping bag, unzipped my fly and door and made a hot mocha for both of us. Both sitting in our tents, we discussed the weather report and our options; we had 52 miles to Cajon Pass and more snow was forecast. We could hunker down here for the day and another night, hike 14 miles to the hot springs and stay around there, or do a bigger day and maybe outrun the storm. The issue is that we are wearing our only dry clothes and if we get wet we cannot warm up again.
We decide we cannot just stay here and not hike, so we plan to prolong our warmth by packing up slowly, to leave camp at 10:30 to hike to a few miles past the hot springs. JKW says if it did snow again we’d have to just keep walking (ha), maybe all the way to Cajon Pass. But he is right – hiking would be the only way to keep up our body temperatures.

I write a note for Beth and Jamieson and leave it under a rock on a stump, letting them know when we left the campsite and where we’re heading. We set off and despite the lack of sleep agree that we feel good, our bodies are getting strong and we can feel it. Again it’s a beautiful hiking day what with the mild temperature and terrain that is visually stunning and fairly easy; no big prolonged ups. We are just cruising and somehow 40 miles is again mentioned, as a magic number doable by people who have hiked all night before, are badass hikers to begin with and are feeling bulletproof. I believe it was actually JKW’s idea. He’s a bit cra-cra.

I sort of also mention that I believe we could do it and there it is, an idea becomes a plan and is actioned immediately; we are now stopping at the hot springs for a half hour dinner break at probably 7pm, then hiking on through the night to attempt 40 in under 24 hours. Why, you ask? Why not. The reasons why not are many but don’t count right now and are therefore not considered.

There are other great reasons to stay awake – the sky is clear and brilliant, there is a space station crossing the sky just after 4am, and I love hiking at night. Guthooks app warns us of ‘naked, ancient hippies’ at the hot springs and he was spot on. There is also an FDA warning about putting one’s head under the water. Although it looks very tempting we stick to the plan, eating dinner, filling our water and chatting with some other hikers for a bit before moving on, our headlamps at the ready.

Around midnight we walk along the dam wall, over the dam (weird, eerie) and along the road for a bit, past sleeping people, people doing what people do in their houses at midnight. At 4:16 am we are again up above the towns of we think Victorville and Hysperia, and stop to make yet another coffee and watch the space station pass over. I was absolutely fascinated, having never seen it. Three people up there floating around! I also saw a satellite and a couple of shooting stars.

Just on sunrise we came to a cache, complete with water and Cadbury Creme eggs! We signed the book there, the first for today of course! Then it was on towards Silverwood Lake, so gorgeous in the early morning light.

Just past the lake there was a recreation area, where we hit our 40, around 9:30 am. Close by was a toilet and shower block, surrounded by inviting-looking grass begging to be laid upon by sleeping hikers. Happy to oblige I first removed all my wet gear from my pack and draped everything over nearby tree branches before flopping down on my mat and immediately going to sleep.

I was dragged out of my sound sleep by JKW’s voice, telling me we weren’t allowed to stay there and had to leave. “Waaaah?” I said. “You’re not serious?!” Apparently this particular area was off limits to some people some of the time. Being a nosy kinda gal who’d had no sleep and for some as yet undetermined reason had just walked 40 miles in one go, I wanted to know exactly who and why and went to ask the only person I could see, a guy in a work uniform. He explained that the amenities there were just for the workers who maintained the park and surrounds, and directed me to the public campground a half mile away.

Dragging ourselves towards the sounds of energetic people playing volleyball, we found an untenanted dirt field, which we promptly laid down on. As the sun rose higher and hotter it chased us around the field as we moved our mats out of it, only to be woken again, sweating, by the heat. GAAARRR!!!! Right, let’s get out of here, we said! A taxi! I wandered up the road until I had enough service, looked up a taxi company and called them. We agreed to meet at the entrance to the rec area, so walked up there to wait. And wait. And….well, wait. I called back and the driver said yes, he was behind the fire station, like I’d said. Huh? Even Siri couldn’t mistake Silverwood Lake Recreation Area for Behind The Fire Station. Ok well yeah, she could – but a real Live Person? I asked JKW to speak to him, knowing that sometimes my broad Aussie twang is difficult to understand. Alrighty, all sorted now, he’s on his way. Possibly. At some point, maybe in the future. After 40 minutes he called back and a confusing conversation ensued, me only able to hear JKW’s end, who, I might add, has the patience of a saint.

Well, we said, we’re hikers – how about we walk! So off down the road we went, soon coming to the Rangers Station. Wonderful! We said – this gives us an actual address to give the taxi person! But we now have no service. We keep walking until we reach the bottom of the off ramp leading from Highway 138 to Cleghorn Road. Perfect! An intersection! JKW calls a different company and explains we want to be collected from this intersection, and happily we sit down to wait, knowing that within probably under an hour we would be asleep in beds having consumed large amounts of food and ice-cold beverages. Oh, would that were the end of my tale, but alas, no. Nonononono, no, no. The following three hours contained a comedically painful series of calls to and from several different cab companies, JKW even sending a screen shot of the google map of our location, to no avail. We could not be found. Lamenting our fate (to pitch our tents – not a great tragedy but just not our preference right now) we had commenced throwing small rocks onto a big square of concrete to pass the time while we waited, closest to the centre wins. Other hikers came along and joined in, taking the competition very seriously.

This, I believe, will go down in the history books as the Inaugural game of the now-famous Hiker Game, Throwing Shit At Other Shit.

Just when we were considering actually putting our tents up, some dudes in a car slowed down to take a look at us and lo and behold who should it be but Spike!! Oh my goodness! Want a lift? He says. Do we?!. He takes us to Hysperia. We love him. We love you Spike. Comfy beds – check. Food – check. Root beer – check. Sleep – double check.

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Snowflakes That Stay On My Nose…

Up at 6am as planned, we mosey over to La Paws, the Mexican restaurant close by for breakfast, where I had the lightest, fluffiest pancakes in the universe, and lots of coffee. We messaged Beth and Jamieson to see where they were at, but they still had some business to take care of so would be stuck in town a little longer. Just Keep Walking then called a taxi to take us to the trailhead. Dee, who had picked us up twice before, collected us and proceeded to build upon past conversations in which she called into question our sanity in undertaking such an endeavor as the PCT. Dee’s fingernails are fascinating – they are so long they curl, and are painted a hot pink. I willed her phone to ring so I could see how she managed them apples, but to no avail. In this one, strong the Force is not. Dee took us as far as she was allowed to drive, then we walked about two and a half miles to the trail. Happy to be back out, the morning passed quickly. The terrain was beautiful and interesting despite portions being old burn zones – or maybe because of that, and there was no storm in sight. Until.

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Great breakfast!

Descending towards Halcombe Creek the air pressure dropped and so did the temperature. At first it just rained a little, then the snowflakes began floating down like so much confetti. I was delighted. Yeah, snow! I’m getting snowed on! Just walkin’ around, under snow. Do it all the time. The novelty did not wear off until the evening when attempting to pitch my tent quickly – it just couldn’t be done with numb, cold fingers. Also, we had seen not a soul all day until 3 miles before the campsite at the creek a guy passed us, ultimately taking the sheltered spot under the oak tree. Damn!

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Burn zone on the way to Halcombe creek

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Big Bear Lake from above

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You Are Here

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Baaahahahahaaa! Actual snow!

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Yes, yes. Snow. I get it. Real pretty, but cold.

Tents finally up, we took my Jetboil and our ramen over to the unoccupied side of the tree and jumped around – House Of Pain would’ve been great for moral – while our noodles cooked, our attempts to warm up while not get any wetter only moderately successful. We continued to move while eating, then both crawled into our respective shelters while the sleet kept falling. My sleep clothes were thankfully all dry so I changed and commenced the process of ‘warming up’ and ‘sleeping’. By this I basically mean shivering. Brrrrrrrrr.

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Big Bear Lake – Day 21-24 (11-14/5/15)

This morning I woke up to my alarm at 4.30 and was hiking by just after 5, feeling positively sprightly. I jauntily trotted along and blew in to where the others were camped just as they were getting up and out of their tents. Beth and Jamieson and a couple of other hikers were there also and everyone was saying how cold they had been overnight.

I felt great and as I hiked I sang, and beat time with my poles. We were stopped for lunch right on the trail when Beth and Jamieson caught up to us and joined us. The five of us then hiked together towards Big Bear, playing the word game Contact as we walked. When we reached the trailhead there was a big ute (SUV) and a woman about to get into it. I said hello and asked if she happened to be going into town…..hitch, done! JKW, Beth and Jamieson had to lie down in the back, Carol and I sat inside with Cheryl, who was lovely and chatted with us all the way into town, even going via the Post Office for Jamieson to collect a resupply box.

At the Big Bear Hostel we waited patiently for Sarge to complete his spiel to the hikers checking in before us, then it was our turn and we sat in a row as he gave us the run-down and showed us the ropes. Particularly important was to not slam the doors. Carol wanted her own room so Just Keep Walking and I agreed to share bunks. I was a little surprised when the bunks were basically all that could fit in the tiny room, but a bed is a bed, and the room was painted in cool colours with climbing scenes.

Just Keep Walking decided to have a nap while the rest of us drank a few beers outside at the tables. At dinner time we walked next door to eat and provide support to Beth and Jamieson, who had decided to take on the burrito challenge. I’m really enjoying getting to know them better, and their cause is really worthwhile. Project Canoe picks up on youth who are involved with or in danger of being involved with the juvenile justice system in Toronto, and takes them out in the wilds kayaking and other challenging activities. They also provide scaffolding for the young person for another three years. Amazing. Beth and Jamieson are hoping to raise as much as possible. Their site is usandithikes.com.

Words fail to give justice to the debacle that followed, various hikers joining us, eating then moving on but most staying to watch with morbid fascination as five pounds of burrito EACH disappeared into already distended stomachs. The encouragement ranged from loud cheering to quiet murmurings of ‘well…..there’s no shame in just quitting……’
Both Beth and Jamieson, however, are way to stubborn to fork out $18 each when the thing could be had for nix, and – eventually – cleaned their plates.

Back at the ranch Just Keep Walking and I negotiated a schedule for who could occupy our 4 inches of floor space at any given time then went to our respective beds, where I slept like a well-fed baby.

In the morning we all had a myriad of tasks that needed to be done; shopping for resupply, washing, and other assorted chores. In my case, I needed to buy a birthday present for my son and post it, and in order to do that I had to walk to wherever I had to go. We went to a great hiker-friendly cafe for breakfast and close by I noticed a music shop and a Native American gift shop. My chances of finding something I liked for my son just improved immensely! None of the shops opened until 10 or 11, so we returned to the hostel and let Sarge know that we’d be leaving. We had decided to go down to the Mitel 6, which was cheap and had room enough to actually swing a cat if we were that way inclined.

While we waited for check-in at the 6 we walked back to the shops near the cafe, me spending most of my time in the music shop. There, my quest for a gift for my son Sam was of course successfully completed. Still Rob showed up to kindly ferry us to lunch and the supermarket. The rest of the afternoon was spent on resupplying at Vons a supermarket along the lines of Woolies or Coles, and moving to the 6. Then, eating. And sleeping.

Next morning we waved goodbye to Gunner, who had decided to hike on whereas Just Keep Walking and I both wanted two full zero days.

My only tasks for the day are to post Sam’s gift and organise my food. At the Post Office I waited in the queue for an age before being told that they didn’t have the correct customs form there and that I’d have to go to Big Bear City PO. Behind me in the line a woman called to me, saying she’d be happy to take me, as she was going straight past. The kindness of strangers…….her name is Jenny and she has two beautiful pitties in the back of the truck parked in the carpark. Her friend Wenzel was driving. After waiting for me at the second post office Wenzel dropped Jenny and the dogs off at her trailer, then needed to stop to do some shopping for his dinner – happily, I followed him in to pick up a couple of things I hadn’t been able to buy, specifically Carnation Instant Breakfast, vanilla flavour. There are 8 sachets in a box and I use them as a milk substitute for coffee, iced coffee and my granola. room Matt was out doing his thing, so I completely exploded my pack, hung my tent over the pool fence to air out and pulled apart stove, water bladder and anything else that was manky, ready for cleaning. Then I used my sleeping bag stuff sack for emptying onto all the ingredients for the best trail mix ever made, so I could mix it and bag it up. Way too much mindless television was watched, way to late into the night. Then, sleep. On, towards Cajon Pass, tomorrow.

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Day 20 – Mile 236-252.5

Carol did reveille this morning around 6 and we broke camp and set off at 7, aiming for a campground at mile 256. I felt like I had just walked 20 miles, rather than had a day and a half’s rest. Hmmmpf. I had lead in my feet and got slower and slower across the morning. Also, I had had no calories the night before; I had a little food left but nothing I wanted to eat. Ramen. Tortillas. Cheese. Blah.

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When I met up with the others at the creek getting water I let them know I’d be stopping for a bit to eat and rest, and would either catch up with them or meet them at the campsite. Still Rob said he would hang with me and the others set off.
I did feel better once I had some fuel in me and Still Rob and I headed off, keeping the same pace and chatting as we walked. Nevertheless after an hour I needed a rest and sat down on the side of the trail in the shade. Rob got his phone out – Lo and Behold, Reception! Noticing that what I was sitting on was actually deliciously soft duff, I murmured something about needing a nap, laid down and was promptly asleep. When I woke Rob was looking very pleased with himself; he had booked a car and a ride out from mike 250, to see his boys in their lacrosse game.
Mike 250 is where the caged animals are, bears and lions etc. and I had no desire to see them or get particularly close, so when we arrived at that junction where the road meets the trail I gave Rob a hug and said see ya later, then in the darkening light walked straight past the enclosures to my right. At mile 252 I started looking for a decent spot to camp, knowing that I wasn’t going to wring another five miles out of myself. There were no flat spots, the terrain going up from the trail on my right and down on my left, but leaving the trail and bush whacking up the hill I found some flattish spots behind large pines and chose one that was perfect. I pitched my tent, ate more ramen and went to bed just on dark.

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My spot behind a tree

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Day 19

Today we left Whitewater as planned under a sunny sky – no storm in sight. Soon we crossed from the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary to the San Bernadino Wilderness, and by 10.30 were stopped for morning tea and water at Mission Creek. On the sign there we spotted a Splob sticker, and an UsandItHikes sticker also, which is Beth and Jamieson’s site. Splob is an amazing artist and leaves cartoon commentary in the trail registers. He’s also a really nice guy.
Being a day behind Australia here, at home today is Mothers Day but I have no reception to call my mum or for my kids to call me. First world problem, but I do miss them and would love to just hear their voices. 
I was reminded of Nepal today when the trail crossed what was clearly a landslide on a steep mountainside – the work that goes into maintaining this trail is just amazing and I give my utmost thanks and respect to those that give their time and effort clearing the trail and making it safe.
We set up camp earlier than planned in terms of mileage but late in the day – I pitched my tent and went to bed, too tired to eat. 

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