Day 22 | mile 430.4 - 454.5

My head was pretty cold last night because it was windy. I had to alternate between putting it in my quilt and back out. I need to get a down hat for the Sierra, I think.

Relieved to hear birds which meant the sun was coming out. At 5:20, the girl that was cowboying near me decisively ripped open her quilt, stuffed it in her backpack, and went to change into her hiking clothes. I couldn’t even fathom getting out of my quilt for 30 seconds to start up the stove for breakfast. I’m such a wuss about being cold. I admired her courage from the warmth of my quilt. :) But seriously, i need to get better at this.

Spilled my just boiled water when I went to take the lid off. Great start. This is why you pack out extra water. Finished the oatmeal and blueberries I got in Big Bear. I’m going to miss blueberries. You can get oatmeal anywhere, but a sensible package of blueberries is hard to come by.

Started super late today - 7:30. Thankfully we only need to do 24 miles today.

Warmed up right away and stopped to take off my layers. Radar passed me then. That’s been our routine. I start earlier and then stop to take my wind layers off.

Occasionally I’d hit these patches of white sand. I wonder why.

Caught up to him and all the people who left the campsite before us at the first water stop. I was basically running, the terrain was easy and my pack was light.

The ranger station was selling $1 sodas and had free great tasting water. You can guess which one I went for.
I stayed at the water source a while after everyone had left. I was taking advantage of service my phone was getting at that spot to upload last night’s blog and pictures.
Short Shorts showed up just as I was getting ready to leave. Ugh.
Today I discovered that pop music is not so bad through these headphones. Taylor Swift for days. Also, Hailee Steinfeld - Most Girls.
I was feeling amazing and pumped up on T-Swift, so I was running a lot. Which made my feet sweat. Which resulted in a hot spot on my right big toe.
I stopped to take a look and tape it up before it became a blister. And switched to Ready Player One before T-Swift injured me.

Oh! I was obviously passing a lot of people as I was running. One of the hikers was an older guy who camped at the same campground as me. He is 64. We were talking a bit about the trail, and he asked me how old I was. I said 27. And he goes, “well, you don’t look it. I would’ve guessed 22.” Is 27 that old? I couldn’t tell if I should be flattered or offended. It was a weird interaction and I just said, “see ya” and took off.

Stopped at KOA RV park for water. The bathrooms there had a mirror and took a look at myself. Wow, there was a lot of dirt on my face. I had used a face wipe the night before. Around the hairline, especially, were these sunscreen/dirt layers that took a few passes to remove.

Struggled through the last 8 miles because it was hot and that toe was still bothering me a bit.

Crossed Hwy-14 in a small tunnel that matched the PCT crest shape. I was alone and going through that long, dark tunnel quickly went from exciting to terrifying. It was echoing a lot, and you couldn’t tell if there was someone hiding ahead. There was a bunch of debris in the center and it honestly looked like human sculls and bones sometimes. (This is probably influenced by me listening to Ready Player One over the last few days.)

Vasquez Rocks were really cool. I kept stopping to take pictures. We could see them from a distance in the morning, and in the afternoon we were in them. So so cool.

Finished Ready Player One! The end was especially good. I cried.

Got to Agua Dulce at 4. I didn’t know what else to do, so I got a honeycrisp apple at the store and then went to the pizza place. It was just me and this really loud guy day-drinking and watching NASCAR.

I got a 12” pizza with marinara and Alfredo sauces mixed together. With sausage, bell peppers, and onions on top. Hockey on TV made me miss Alex a lot. He was sweet and chatted with me for a while as I ate my pizza by my-loser-self.

I finally got out to head to Hiker Heaven. There were some hikers who explained there was a shuttle to and from downtown. Just then, the truck full of hikers pulled up. Radar was on there! All showered and in loaner clothes. He was going to get pizza.

Numbers drove me back to the house and explained how everything works. I picked out a spot to set up my cowboy camp and went to take a shower. It was so nice to scrub my feet clean. I also cut my toenails. YAY!

This place is owned by a couple, and they provide room and board to volunteers who run the rides, the laundry, cleaning, onboarding new people. They have a system for laundry and do your laundry for you. I dropped mine off and put on a loaner orange dress.

Got the last ride into town to get an ice cream. Worth it. Also got some resupply stuff.

Going to sleep, hopefully rolling out tomorrow morning.