Day 17: Trail-1, Me-1

Day 17: mi 191.35 to Ziggy and the Bear (210.8), 19.45 miles. (up/down: +951/-6771ft)

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I woke up with the sunrise, but decided to sleep another hour. I packed up and left camp around 7:24 a. It was a bit brisk, but that was soon to change.

Today was my rematch day against the trail. I started strong: in a good mood and fast pace. The trail was to drop over 6000 ft and lead to one of the worst parts of the entire trail.

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My knee was holding up well with all the down hill. In just two hours, I had gone nearly 6 miles and dropped 3500 feet. I was making good progress, but the temperature was rising fast. The more I went down, the more I could feel the descent taxing my knee, but nothing unbareable-I just had to take it a bit slower.

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I was definitely defeating the trail. Today was the first trail day since Mt. Laguna that I didn’t listen to music (besides listening to the couple rocking out that I passed). This meant the following: I was not in pain, not extremely bored,  the trail was not agonizingly hard, and overall I was not trying to distract myself.

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(Actual) 200 miles!

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Existing trail marker, nearly a mile past the first.

After being up in the mountains and trying to navigate around at least 20 down trees, I was back in desert country. I love being in the forest. I had forgotten about all the lizards, and today they were everywhere! All sorts, shades and sizes. I didn’t see a rattler, but did nearly step on a snake.

I was enjoying myself, but was getting increasingly more pissed at whoever created the trail. By crow, I was 5 miles from my destination, but by trail it was 15 miles. We did so many long switch backs and went around unnecessary boulders. I swear I could see the trail like 10 ft away, but took a half mile long detour to get there – over and over again.

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At about 1 pm I made it to the Snow Canyon Faucet. There were 5 others there trying to hide from the sun and heat. Quite a challenge when the sun is directly overhead and the only shade is about 5 feet long under a boulder and 6 inches wide. I had some lunch, rested, and refilled my water for the grueling 5 mile beach walk to Ziggy & the Bear.

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Lots call this one of their least favorite sections on trail. I can see why. Even though it is very flat, it is very exposed and travels through a sandy wash leading to the Hwy. You’re walking, but feel like you are going no where in the deep sand and the highway seems to not be getting any closer. To make it worse, it was almost 100 degrees in the shade and well over 100 in the sun. Finally crossing under the highway, I had only a mile and a half to go. Still horrible.

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Finally around 3:30 I arrived to the Trail Angels’! We were greeted with a nice cold Gatorade and shade! I signed in as hiker #680 so far this year and got my mug shot taken. Time to relax and enjoy the shade, breeze, company, stories, Little Caesars & ice cream!

Day 16 Starts
19.45 miles.

7:24a-3:30p, 8 hours.

Seen:
More lizards
1 Snake

Ate:
Breakfast hard biscuits
Dried Fruit
Rise breakfast bar
Hummus & tortilla
Mini Slim Jim
Snickers
Jelly beans
3 slices pizza
Chicken, Spinach Pasta
Ice cream
6-7 liters water (+ breakfast essentials)

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