Day 14 | mile 227.2 - 250.2

Woke up at 4:30 because people next to us were packing up. I remembered I didn’t floss last night, so I did. Back to sleep. It has been really warm, so I’ve been using my quilt as a comforter (not cinching the neck). So cozy.
Woke up for real at 5:30. Made breakfast and ate leisurely while everyone else packed and left. I ate the banana that I picked up from under I-10! Finally started hiking at exactly 6.
It was a slow start today. I stopped to adjust my poles because I had extended them for the downhill 2 days ago. I stopped to notice more things: the beautiful black and white marbled rocks, how my body felt, how the water tasted.

The trail crisscrossed Mission Spring for the first 7 miles or so. That means my pack was light as a feather. I only carried 700 ml of water at a time, and just scooped more whenever it was empty.
After a couple of slow miles I was cruising. The uphills started to get steeper and I was passing everyone who left before me. As I gained elevation the rocks changed from muted blacks and grays to red and oranges.

Just as I thought to check my phone and stopped paying attention to the trail I heard a loud rattle. I jumped back and there was a rattler warning me and very lazily moving off trail. So glad they have that warning system!

I stopped for lunch at mile 11, where I thought we had agreed to take a break. Made ramen and experimented with chick-fil-e honey bbq mustard sauce. It was a success. I soaked my feet and washed my socks. Beans (Annah) passed me while listening to music despite me yelling at her. I ate a pop tart for the road (strawberry flavor) and walked another 1.3 miles to where she was stopping.
Sure enough, there were a bunch of sleepy hikers there. I got some water and took a short nap. It was actually kinda cold in the shade. I had my wind gear and puffy jacket on.
We finally left at 3:30. Hiked another 10 miles to what was supposed to be a water pump on private property. We took off our packs to put on jackets and start looking for it when a Jeep rolled down the road and asked if we needed anything. We were looking for water, we explained. He said wait 3 minutes. He came back with bottles of water, 2 bananas, cheese and salami package, and banana bread. I was really excited because I didn’t have much food left until big bear. This true unexpected trail magic.

We agreed to take the first spot available, and there was one 100 ft from the dirt road. We set up and made dinner. Annah had cold mashed potatoes. I had a Knorr pasta side. It was really gross. Creamy pasta, you can’t fuck that up, right? Knorr can. It had a weird aftertaste.
We scarfed down salami and cheese. Even Annah had salami and she is vegetarian. When in Rome.
Half way through dinner, there was some redneck drama unraveling on the dirt road. Complete with an ATV, a backhoe, and a very powerful flashlight. We quickly ran through murder scenarios and what we would do.
From the other end of the forest we heard a bear growl. Terrified at first, we remembered there is a private zoo in 0.1 miles. There are grizzly bears, tigers, and lions - ex-hollywood animals.
Going to try to get some sleep now! Big bear in 16 miles!!