We got up and packed up our things. Kristen gave us a ride to the trail head (nearly an hours journey), she bought us coffee/hot chocolate on the way. Mine had this inspirational message!

  

We started back on the trail just after 8am. I had to have a wee urgently as I’d loaded up on water before I left. Disaster happened when I pooed as well unexpectedly! What?!  Luckily I was able to deal with it and no one came by! 

We were straight into the lava fields. Tough going. I couldn’t manage 3mph because of all the rocks. 

      

I passed Wild Pony and a lady called Ace passed me. A tiny old man with a big white beard passed me going south and I had a fleeting thought it might be Billy Goat (a very well known pct hiker who has clocked over 25,000 miles on the PCT), but he was so small I dismissed it. I passed a man who gave me blueberries, and his dog loved them too! 

I passed Gene the Machine, he seemed a bit down but I didn’t know what to do. He’s stopping at Big Lake Youth Camp where they offer free meals I’ve heard. Hopefully that will cheer him up. I stopped to have lunch of tuna and crackers and Cheetos. I had downloaded a few podcasts while I was in Bend, one of which was about conspiracy theories. The one I was listening to was about the death of princess Diana. Unfortunately the three people discussing it were complete morons and when they kept referring to Prince Harry as Prince Henry I had to switch it off. Decent podcasts are hard to find. 

       

I caught up to Dana (now with the trail name Oreo). “Did you see Billy Goat.” Damn it! It was him. Why didn’t I stop and talk, I’ve talked to everyone else today! 

We walked 18 miles to the road crossing where Kristen and her Mum were providing trail magic. Giving out food and water as this was a long waterless stretch. They refilled the empty water bottles at the cache too which was so nice of them! We hung out for a bit, had a soda, some food and refilled our water and it was time to move on. 10 more miles to the next water and camp with a 1500ft ascent. 

I got service on my phone and ended up catching up with a friend on the phone for 2 hours which put me really behind schedule! 
I hurried up the climb, it was getting cold and windy. I saw some people on the ridge taking photos who pointed out a mountain goat to me, but it just looked like a white speck. 

I hurried on and stopped to watch the sun set. Night hiking. Still not keen. But the dead forest is creepy and I didn’t want to camp on my own, especially as I knew Oreo wasn’t too far ahead. 

     

A big stag jumped out of the forest just a few feet in front of me and hurtled down the hill scaring me half to death. I hiked until 9:30pm. Thankfully there weren’t too many rocks or trip hazards so I was able to get a bit of a move on. I found Oreo. She was in a small spot that I joined her in and set up my tent practically on top of hers. Everything is so incredibly dusty. When you have the head torch on you can see the particles floating in front of your face, you realise they are there all day and you just can’t see them. I didn’t eat dinner. I couldn’t be bothered. 

29.2 miles and I felt good! I felt like I could have carried on. Never underestimate the power of a rest day.  

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