290.2 to 312 – 22 miles
Up and out! Always early. I can’t sleep in anymore these days which is good as the sun is getting pretty feisty.
The trail follows a creek for a while and I find a nice spot to stop and collect water and rinse out sock. I giggle to myself as there is a sign saying “A Rare Toad Lives Here” making it perfect for me! (my nickname as a kid, courtesy of a rotten/ awesome uncle was Toad).
It’s hot! And the trail is very exposed. I find a tiny tiny tiny place for my sleeping pad and sit out the worst of the day, with a little nap and eating of random things. Today there are two exciting things – 300!!! AND HOT SPRINGS! I want to get there as early as possible so that I can waste few hours in the water. It is popular with locals and I can tell I am getting closer as there is a lot of rubbish and graffiti on the trail. It’s Saturday so I’m expecting a lot of people. Finally I am there! And so are a lot of naked people! eeeeps. And of course not the kind of naked people anyone would actually want to see. I have a hard time scanning the crowd to look for hiker friends without actually “looking”. Chicken Fat and Rideordieh call me over! “YAy people I know. Lobo and Sensee are there too, as well as a couple of people I haven’t met before. The hot springs clearly also attracts people who are interested in the healing properties of hot springs as there are a lot of ‘medicinal herbs’ being smoked.
I spend a couple of glorious hours alternating between the hot hot hot water and the cool water. My legs are happy. There is no camping (technically, but many are camping) around the springs so as the sun starts disappearing I hike out.
There is nowhere to camp close by. Nowhere. Bugger. This means some night hiking. I march on through the dodgy graffiti and try and find somewhere I can stay for the night. I have a destination in mind which will take me of the narrow ridge walk. The sun is gone and my headlamp is on. I’m .2 miles away from where I want to be when I hear a RATTLE. CRAP. Nearly stepped on a bloody rattlesnake! eeeeeeeps!!! I walk slowly backwards and wait. It doesn’t move and keeps rattling. I throw rocks in it’s direction to scare it. It doesn’t move. BAH. I wait for about 30 minutes total and finally the rattlesnake wins and I have to backtrack as I am shattered and need some sleep. I shake my fist at you mother nature!!! I find a terrible spot in a tiny tiny ditch next to the trail, and end up going backwards .5 miles. Bugger. I’m in for a windy restless, rattlesnake-dreamy night.