Very hard day today. I miss AWE a lot, and the terrain today is harder than it’s been in a while. Two big climbs, one late in the day, and some tough rock slicks that weren’t well-marked. I almost got lost twice: once I went downhill for a few yards before seeing sticks laid across the trail in the universal sign for “you’re hiking the wrong way”. The second time the trail disappeared – big drops all around me – until Stumbles came by and climbed up 5 feet to a rock ahead. New rule of hiking: when in doubt, climb up!
Went over the eastern continental divide. Neat.
The climb up Brush Mountain was steep and long. I was worried I was going to run out of water – it is getting hotter, and I sweat a LOT. (Even when it is 40 degrees outside, I am covered in sweat within minutes of hiking uphill). After 70 days (!) on the trail you’d think I’d be acclimated to hiking uphill…but I am not. (Or – I just sweat a lot). So I am drinking a ton of water and taking electrolyte tablets in hopes of staying hydrated. Today I drank 5.5 liters of water, and was still thirsty afterwards.
I met Greyhound on the climb down – he has a twisted ankle and was taking it a step at a time going down. Asked him where he was headed for the night and he said – headed to water first, then I’ll decide if I’m going the extra mile to the shelter. I thought – man it would be nice to camp by the creek – but knew that OWL wouldn’t stop there because she had set her destination as the shelter. Got down to the creek and saw a bunch of folks from last night. Thought – I hope OWL is still here but she is probably at the shelter. Then I looked over to the other side of the creek and saw her sitting there, with her tentpad laid out. I was so happy I cried – literally – and said “I am so glad to see you!”. She said – “well the shelter was 0.3 miles off the trail, and the water was 0.2 down steep switchbacks from there, so I was glad to save those steps and camp near the creek.”
I went to the creek and drank a bunch of water, took a bath, and rinsed out my clothes. Set up my tent, ate as much food as I could stand for dinner (AWE sends me grape leaves sometimes which are heavy but an AMAZING treat), and went to bed happy and tired and full.