Day 17 | mile 289.9 - 318.0

The quilt straps worked really well. I can’t believe I wasn’t using them before. My nose and cheeks were cold, but I was toasty. Woke up at 5:30 with frost all over my quilt.

Made the sugar reduced oatmeal and added blueberries. It was so much better than the sugary kind. It was so nice to have a hot breakfast when it’s this cold.

Started hiking at 6:30. Wore all my clothes to get started. I had reception, so I called mom to wish her happy Mother’s Day.
Every phone call I have doesn’t end like it should. It doesn’t end with "I love you, bye". It ends with "hello? Hello? FUCK!" because I’ve just lost coverage.
After I got the dreaded beep beep beep of Call Failed, I was in the mood for some early morning Tycho. I put on the Epoch album. As soon as the opening sounds of Glider started, I realized I made a huge mistake.
I traded headphones with Tommy Pickles before leaving Big Bear. She lost the dongle that converts aux cable headphones to the lightning port. And my headphones connect to lightning port directly and I have the aux port. I tested them with an audiobook and they worked fine, so we traded. But holy shit, the music sounds so tinny in them. I had to turn it off because it was ruining the song. Spoken word is fine though.

The hiking was easy and beautiful. Crossing creeks and mostly downhill. Even then, I started to get really hungry at 9. Ate one of my bars. Rx bars are pretty good.

I wanted to make it to Deep Creek hot springs at mile 308 before taking a real break.

Met a couple with a cute dog. He was huge and really soft and nice. It was so nice to pet an animal again.
I took off my pack and filled up on water at mile 301-ish. Put on Ready Player One to crank out another 7 miles to the springs. Miles flew by and soon enough I was looking down the mountain at a group of naked asses. I made it!

Walked down the hill trying to not look at people’s wangs. Made out the most clothed group - it was the hikers! Yay!
First order of business was drying out my sleeping bag. I had packed it wet this morning. It dried while I snacked and scoped out the situation. Watched a loose dog go to some poor hiker’s pack and pee on it... oof.
I put away the bag and went toward the water. Swam in my shorts and shirt to "wash" it. The water was cold, but not too bad. I tried going into the hot springs, but they were waaaaay too hot! I couldn’t lower my entire body into them.
Dried my shirt and socks. Made cheesy mashed potatoes and just eavesdropped on people’s conversations.
Took a short nap. Got ready to leave at 4:15.
My inreach stopped working again. I was trying to fix it while walking on this narrow trail that threatened to kill me if I misstep. Super stressful. I was about ready to throw it off the mountain into the creek below.

Met a guy named Cool Runnings. We walked to the dam together and yelled for the cool echo. It was very cool.

Walked another few miles. Cool Runnings camped, and I kept walking to a water source. Finally camped as the last of the light was fading.

Made couscous. It wasn’t good. I ate half. Will try to eat the other half for breakfast so I don’t have to carry it. Mostly had corn nuts for dinner.
It’s pretty windy. Falling asleep to an owl hooting and a train going by.