Day 30: A Poisonous Trail

Tue. 5/21/13
25.4 miles (Miles 418.8 – 444.2)
Mill Creek Summit Fire Station – Soledad Canyon Road

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So many great views... every single day!

I think this might be the last time you read about me navigating poodle dog… or at least we can all hope! I think I got through the last of it today! Ohmygosh that’s exciting, isn’t it!?

I got going at about 5:45 this morning, and when I crossed the road to where the trail was I had to make my decision – poodle dog trail or road alternate. The thought of an 18-mile road walk made me feel kinda’ bummed, so I started up the trail. What the heck, why not give it a go? Looking at the map, the trail crosses the road in a few spots and comes pretty close in others – I figured I could always bail if I got too frustrated or overwhelmed with the poodle dog. I was also ahead of schedule, so I even had the option to turn around if I had to.

I’m glad I made the decision I did. I ended up taking the PCT all day with the exception of three miles from mile 427 – 430. Before and after that 3-mile section I had only a few spots where I had to move a plant to the side to get by. I adopted a technique for this. I collapsed and packed my trekking poles away, and found two sticks to replace them. I called them my “temporary poodle dog defender sticks.” I used them to move around the plants when I needed to, then tossed them back into the brush when I was done. I hope it worked!

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My temporary-poodle-dog-defender-stick

When I got to mile 427, to my left was a yellow gate to the road, but I thought I’d keep going. I got about 25 yards in and there were two big bunches of the noxious plant on either side of the trail, about 4 feet tall, bowing together into the trail. No way was I going to get through there without coming in contact – even using my stick-defense technique! I jumped on the road there. It was a tough climb for a road, too! I met up with some other hikers at a junction in the road a little later (so happy to see other people – meant I was going the right way for sure!). I enjoyed the company of Tortuga, Beeker, Dragonfly, Storytime, and Wild Child.

At one point I came to this small section that was a meadowy-looking hillside covered in wildflowers! I think it displayed every color and type I’ve seen on the trail so far! I tried to get a photo, but not one did it justice. I just stopped and just stared for a little while… with a big smile on my face. What a glorious day.

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After a lunch break at the N. Fork Ranger Station, I had 8 miles  of hiking before I hit Soledad Canyon Road where I could get to the hiker-friendly KOA. I hauled butt… I had the thought that maybe Adam would be at the road waiting for me. It got downright HOT out. I never sweat so much! I got about one mile from the road and gave Adam a call. He was 8 minutes away – with cold Gatorade!! Confession: I jogged a little bit because I was so anxious to get there. Something cold on such a hot day? Yes, please! Jogging actually felt good. I think it used different muscles, or at least used  my hiking muscles in a different way. I was pretty pooped after a 25-mile day, but man, did it feel good! (I also got my 10 x 10 today! 10 miles by 10am! Woo-hoo!)

Adam was sitting next to a cooler full of ice and Gatorade when I came around the last bend. Aaaah.

He had Lion King with him (a fellow ADT thru-hiker!). We all went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I was dirtier than I’ve ever been out here so far, so I got a few funny looks. I walked through with pride… donning my salt lines and dirty, filthy legs – I had to crawl through the dirt on my knees to get under a fallen tree earlier. Awesome fun!

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Lion King with our yummy dinner drinks

After dinner we did some trail angel shopping for tomorrow, then dropped Lion King off at Casa de Luna. I was so out of it by then (beyond tired!). I said hi to a few people I knew there, but it was dark, and I didn’t recognize anyone else. There were a LOT of people there! I think we might go back tomorrow night.

I am cowboy camping at the KOA now, next to Adam, and there’s some wildlife refuge nearby… you can hear lions roaring. Why does everything have a weirdness to it out here? Haha! I just love it!

Tonight I love (believe it or not) poodle dog bush, because it taught me how to do the poodle dog dance and kept things exciting and risky for a while. I might come back and change this statement if I break out from it though! ;)

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A really cool moss-covered tree

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Anyone know what this plant is?

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White sand makes my legs look even dirtier than they are! Well, they're pretty dirty...

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I love these views out here.

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5 thoughts on “Day 30: A Poisonous Trail

  1. Congrats on making 400 miles!! I just love reading your posts and looking at the pictures. You are so fortunate to be seeing the things you are seeing. Keep on enjoying them and stay safe!!!

  2. Thanks for the beautiful wildflower pictures, you are truly lucky! Take care you dirty little girly girl.

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