Landers spring – golden oak spring
25.9 miles.
3853ft up. 4620ft down.

I was colder than I would have liked last night. It’s amazing how quickly you forget being at below freezing temperatures and a bit chilly becomes way too cold. I was asleep super early, by 8:30pm I think, so it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise when I was awake at 3:30am and then tossed and turned until 6am. Even though I had plenty of sleep that last couple of hours made me feel as though I had a terrible nights sleep.

With my fingers and toes back to being painful I packed up and layered up and went to the spring to collect some water for the day. Nearly 26 miles to the next water and our intended camp.

I went off fast to try and warm up, but it didn’t warm up quickly, the sun seemed to take forever to get above the hills and high enough to kick out some heat. At least the sky was clear so it was going to be a nice day. Around 9:30 I made my first of three stops for the day. I delayered, had a wee, replenished my snack pocket and carried on.

It was a pleasant morning and the colours were beautiful, with the sun streaming through the tall grasses. The trail followed a dirt road for a while and I had a vivid memory from last year, I practically crawled up this road, and at the top was the 600 mile marker. I had already passed it. Less than 600 miles to go. Back on the trail and through the trees the wind turbines came into view, little windmills in the distance.

I was maintaining a good pace, 2.5 mph and the temperature was pleasant. I made a second stop to replenish my snacks. Around 1pm I entered the burn area and without the shade of the trees the sun got a little more intense. And then I smelt it way before I saw it. Poodle Dog Bush. It smells even more potent this year, maybe that’s the stage of its life. No purple flowers but when you’ve seen it once there is no mistaking it. The smell made me feel queasy. There were clumps of it all through the burn but it was all avoidable.

As I was moving along I saw this giant dead bug on the side of the trail. For an insect it was huge and I’m glad it was dead because of that had landed on me I would have freaked out. It was big enough to fit the width of my palm. I later found out it was a Jerusalem Cricket / potato bug. This was pretty much the highlight of my day.

I had been gradually getting closer and closer to the wind turbines all afternoon until I was eventually right underneath them. There was enough wind to make them turn but I was protected by the hills. The sun was beating down relentlessly on my right side and I took small moment of relief when the trail dipped into the shade for a few moments. My third stop of the day was to filter some water from my dirty bottle into my clean one, get more snacks and have a wee.

With only 5 miles to go I put my head down and got a move on. My feet and legs have been aching a lot these last few days, my shoes have 950 miles on them, maybe it’s time for some new ones! I arrived at golden oaks spring at 4:45. I hadn’t sat down all day, I had just wanted to get there. I had drunk nearly all of my 2 litres of water (more than I had drunk in days) so I was relieved to see water trickling from the pipe. The water was clear and cold and I was grateful I didn’t have to collect water from the scuzzy stagnant trough.

I set up my tent, nowhere was particularly flat and what was available was pretty much in the middle of the trail but I hadn’t seen another person all day so I doubted I would see one now. The water ran slowly, about 0.5 l/m so I collected 2 litres for me and 2 litres for Catwater so she didn’t have to get water if she arrived in the dark.

I ate my dinner – tuna and ramen and chips ahoy and settled the best I could on my slope. Catwater arrived at 6:20, before dark! (It’s dark about 6:45pm nowadays).


I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.