May 12, 2017: Hiked Miles 430.4 to 454.5 + 1.2 to Hiker Heaven (25.3)
Started off to another cold morning in the mountains, but it instantly warmed up when we started hiking. I went to bed late last night, catching up on blogging and woke up way early after tossing and turning all night so I expected to have a rough morning. But between the crisp mountain air, the coffee, and the views of the new valley below, I felt like Mighty Mouse and was doing all I could to not run down the hill. We switchbacked all morning, slowly getting closer and closer to all the little houses in the valley below.
We had to be very careful because there was tons of poodle dog brush and poison oak along the trail. We stopped at a ranger station to fill up on water and kept going. I think going down hill is even more exhausting than going up because you can always see where your trail leads and usually it’s far away. But we had a nice breeze and we made fast time getting down. My knees are finally starting to feel better which helps me go a little faster. We passed by a view of an old fire that seemed to go on forever.
After 13 miles we finally hit the valley floor. We made our way to the KOA, which is pretty close to the trail and is known to be very hiker friendly.
We picked up a few packages that we had shipped here: food resupply, our new cooking pots, and my original insoles for my shoes, since my arches have been killing me and I think it could be due to my arch supports (hopefully). There was also a gift for Colton inside the package with my insoles:
We ate lunch, added all our food to our food bags, which are now way over full since we’re hiking much faster than expected, and got back on the trail. We still had ten miles to go until Agua Dulce, our stopping point for the night, and we had just hit the hottest part of the day, so we knew we had our work cut out for us.
Luckily we had a strong breeze and the hot desert afternoon turned out to be one of the most enjoyable days on the trail so far. When we’re not talking or out of breath from climbing, I spend a lot of time thinking about numbers. How far is it to our next water source? How many more meals do we have? If we hike this many miles, when will we be to our next resupply? Are we hiking fast enough to make it to camp tonight? What do we need to ship ahead? What do we need to buy? The list goes on and on. But for once, I finally turned my brain off. I stopped planning. I stopped thinking about what hurt. I just soaked in every ounce of my surroundings, the lack of human noise, the wind, the grass on my legs, the strength of my body, the gratefulness I have to be here, the happiness nature brings me. It’s amazing how our thoughts can affect how we feel. I focused on all the great parts of being out here and didn’t let any pains affect me. We both hiked quietly in our own type of meditation without another soul in sight.
And then we crested a hill and were met with a view of a freeway and houses, suddenly not alone anymore.
Eventually we approached a tunnel that went under the freeway.
We found the first restaurant we could. Which wasn’t hard since there are only four in the whole town, all within a couple hundred feet of each other. There’s not much better than cold beer and a huge burger after an exhausting day of hiking.
Colton scarfed his food down and I savored every bite as slowly as I could until he got antsy and started eating my fries. We ultimately had to pry ourselves out of the restaurant, stuffed and exhausted.
We picked up some candy, because we knew we would be hungry again shortly. Then we walked one more mile to Hiker Heaven, where we would be spending the night. It’s basically a whole few acres outside of someone’s house that has been converted into a hiker mecca. There are trailers to sleep in, room to pitch tents, laundry, mail, showers, tv, internet, and a million hikers there. We got here late and quickly got a tour and pitched our tent before it got too dark, so I’ll have to take pictures tomorrow. We put our name on the shower list (which two hours later we are now second in line for), started our laundry and saw quite a few familiar faces we hadn’t seen in some time. It’s 10:30 and we still need a shower and it’s past our bedtime so it might be a late morning tomorrow. Or a whole pot of coffee type of morning.