Miles Hiked: 21.8
Total Milage: 1737.5
I didn’t set an alarm today but I woke up around 6am. 12 pack and I left camp together a little before 7am. The first two miles were through a field of flowers and lots of dead burned trees. 12 pack was in front of me when I saw my first bear since New Mexico. I heard some twigs snapping and saw a blur of black run up to the trail. I started yelling for 12 pack to stop because there was a bear I thought was about to run right in front of him. My yelling must have startled the bear because it stopped right before crossing the trail. It was hiding behind a bank and 12 pack couldn’t even see it. Since I was a little uphill from him I could see where it was. The bear then turned around and ran the other way. I was glad that seeing the first (likely) grizzly was very calm and anticlimactic. We kept hiking and then some very large grizzly footprints appeared in the dust and continued down the trail for quite a ways. The back foot was as big as my foot if not bigger.
The day quickly got very hot as we hiked on. We saw a guy on a horse looking for his other horses that ran away this morning. We hadn’t seen them. We stopped for a breakfast break near a creek in an exposed field with lots of bushes that were about shoulder high. The trail was still very dusty and it felt like I had to do so many water crossings that would soak my socks and shoes and then the dust would get caked on top of them. We ran in to a couple of SOBO hikers today named Austin and Sprouts. For lunch we took a two hour break in some shady trees. I made sure I was off the trail far enough so I wouldn’t have to move if more horses walked by which they did. I love getting to take such a long relaxing break in the middle of the day.
Right after lunch, we got some nice cold water from Two Ocean creek before heading up the first big climb we have had in a long time. There was almost no water on the climb at all which I did plan for but it was incredibly hot and I was struggling so much. Sweat was dripping down my face and I was constantly wiping it off with my buff that I soaked in the last creek. The climb was totally exposed to the sun. When I finally ran into some trees again I sat down and took and unplanned break because I was absolutely too tired to keep walking. I knew I would catch up to 12 pack at our planned dinner spot but there was no way I could keep walking without sitting down. It was one of those moments of the trail where I was wondering why the heck I’m trying to walk so far this summer. After about 15 minutes I worked up the strength to keep going one more mile to the top. Luckily I hadn’t listened to music in about four days so putting headphones in gave me an extra boost.
I found 12 pack near the top of the climb around 5:30pm. I made some mashed potatoes for dinner and relaxed for more than an hour before we did 2 more miles downhill to camp. We camped on the North Side of Mink Creek in some very nice trees. It’s the second night in a row we have had a very nice campsite. I was hoping Felix might show up but he never did. It was so hot I didn’t pull out my sleeping bag until it was almost dark.