Tent site – Fred canyon
23.9 miles. 2881ft up. 3884ft down.
So, being honest, I woke up in a bad mood. I was still going over yesterday in my head, annoyed about it all. We silently packed up, neither of us had discussed a start time but both went for 6. There was an obvious tension and when I gestured that Catwater should go in front of me she said she would need to stop to pee so I should go ahead. So I did. Like a bullet. I was off.
I needed to be on my own. I needed to put some space between us so I could get rid of the tension. I needed to feel my heart pump and my lungs burn. I put my audiobook on in the hope it would distract me. But it didn’t have the desired effect and when 3 chapters had gone bump I realised I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I was too distracted to concentrate.
It was cold and frosty but I had taken all my layers off because I was moving fast and working up a sweat. The trail is so easy to walk on. It rolls gently. And I don’t know if it’s just because it was so hot last year it was so much harder or it’s just because I have 5000 miles under my feet that it seems so much easier.
I sat on a bench, a little luxury rather than having to sit in the dirt. I ate some cheese and crisps, it was only about 9am. I stared out across the desert. I gave Catwater the chance to catch up a bit but not completely. I carried on and the trail looped around so I could see where I had just been, I made sure I caught sight of Catwater before I went any further. I saw a little blue dot moving up the trail. Satisfied that she was ok I picked up my pace again. Audiobooks weren’t working for me today so I decided to try some music. Because of my earlier phone disaster I had lost the music on my phone and I only had what I had managed to quickly download again. Adele and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. I went with Adele to start with and as there was no one around I belted out a bit of When We Were Young and Million Years Ago among other great songs. I can’t sing. Well everyone can sing but whether you would want to listen to it is another matter. But I love singing. It makes you feel good. Especially when you’re in the mountains and there is no one else around.
It had the desired effect. I felt the tension and annoyance leaving me and all that mattered was that Adele and I were having a great time. I was about to move on and have a great time with Nathaniel when 2 people appeared on the trail coming towards me. Busted. I fumbled with my phone to turn the music off (which was playing out loud) I saw a few more people on the trail so that was the end of the music.
When I reached the turnoff to Mt Laguna store I sat by the road and waited for Catwater. A lady drove past and stopped to ask if I was ok. When Catwater arrived she said ‘thanks for waiting’. ‘I didn’t want you to miss the turning’ I replied. And then everything was ok.
We walked to the store together, I got a twix ice cream (will I ever get bored of twix?) and a sprite, of course, from the grumpy man in the store. I sat on the porch in the sun and enjoyed them. We didn’t stay long, we filled our water, I was unable to take full advantage of the outhouse, and we moved on. Still 10 more miles to get to the intended camp site.
It was difficult to take pictures today because to sun was so low and in your face, the area was much greener than I remember it being. It was mostly downhill and I was cruising. I managed a 3mph pace and got to the camp spot at 4:20. Down in the canyon it was already really cold. I wondered up and down about 6 times looking for the flat camp spot. I found it eventually tucked back a little bit off trail. Other people obviously hadn’t had much trouble finding it, there were old tea bags and toilet paper strewn about. Gross. I stood in the middle of the site so Catwater would see me as she came down the trail. We were surprised that the ground was still really wet, we thought that being so dry the ground would have soaked it up quickly.
We pitched our tents quickly and dived inside. I could see my breath in the air. My cheese and crisps did nothing to warm me up so I treated myself to a little hot water bottle. I’m not looking forward to the morning. It’s so difficult to get up when it’s cold.
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.