Big bear – tent site17.9 miles. 3602ft up. 1688ft down.
Despite the comfortable bed I struggled to sleep. I checked my phone to make sure it was still working several times. Then by 5 I was wide awake. I tried to go back to sleep but I had loads of questions running through my head, mostly about ocean rowing (?!) so I did some googling. Catwater woke early too and soon we were up and packing up.
After breakfast I had a few phone calls to make, Catwater took the rental car back and we got a taxi back to the trail. I did not feel good in the taxi. I think it was a combination of the heater being on a billion degrees, the strong smell of stale cigarettes and the swingyness of his driving which made me feel car sick. I focused hard on not being sick and just prayed we would get there in one piece. He was checking and replying to his text messages as he was driving which is really uncool. I’ve survived this far, I don’t want to end up in a car crash. Had I not been feeling so dodgy I would have said something, but I stayed quiet.
I was so glad to get out the car and suck in deep breaths of cool clean air. It was a nice temperature. Cool but not cold. I smothered my face and lips in sun cream, I am determined not to get to town looking like a tomato again.
Our packs were heavy and it was slow going. I wasn’t that hungry but I ate some snacks to help lighten the load. We knew there was water about 8 miles in so I aimed for there. I had only carried one litre out of town. I was checking the water report as I as waiting for Catwater. Water in 2 miles and then nothing for 16 miles which means a heavy carry for a dry camp.
Only 10 more miles to our camp spot. The soles of my feet are sore today. Something that isn’t unusual after a town day. There are a couple of uphill bits but the climbs are gentle. I collect 2 litres of water from the stream pouring out the side of the hill. My pack was heavy but I maintained my pace. I came to the empty cache and the sofa from last year. Nothing to hang around for.
2 miles away from camp I pass the caged animals. I see two bears and a tiger. It absolutely broke my heart. I wanted to see a bear, but not like this. The animals look so sad. One is pacing up and down his tiny cage and the other is just lying down, desperately in need of water. There are no sounds at all. I feel like crying. I hurry on past. Those sights of those animals will stay with me for a long time.
I reached the camp spot at 4:30pm. It had already started to get cold. As soon as the sun started going down it got cold. I pitched my tent, cleared a spot for Catwater and tried to get warm. I took off my shoes and I can’t describe to you how much they smell. They are horrendous. I have been wearing them for over 1200 miles. I eat my ramen and chicken even though I’m not really hungry. I have way too much food I think. Time ticks on and there is no sign of Catwater. When it gets to 5:30 I assume she has found somewhere else to camp. I’m on my own.
I try and keep my eyes open but by 6:30 I am falling asleep. I’m so tired.
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.