22.3 miles (Miles 1296.3 – 1318.6)
Myrtle Flat – PCT Mile 1318.6
“Hi, my name is Toots Magoots, and I have chafe.” This is almost what the conversation was like when I shared news of my new chafe to a group of other hikers. It really is a great support group o ut here! A couple of them also had chafe – and it’s the first time in a long time for all of us. Mine, today, is from a bad combination of things. First, it’s hot and I’m sweating. A lot. Second, the sweaty clothes aren’t getting a chance to dry like they did in the desert, and third, my clothes are too big and bunching up under my hipbelt. I have a spot a little smaller than my hand on my lower back that is red, puffy and raw… and very stingy under a backpack hipbelt. After about 20 minutes of hiking it kind of numbs up. That or I’m able to ignore it. Either way, I’m able to hike, so it’s minor – just irritating.
We finished up our 5,000-foot ascent out of Belden in the cool of the morning. We got the majority done yesterday in that crazy heat, so this morning’s cooler air felt like a nice break. Thankfully the sun was my buddy today and granted me my wish from yesterday to take the intensity down a notch. It only got up to 90º for a bit today, but we also had lots of shade. I still sweat buckets, but I’m okay with that!
We saw a bear today! I heard a crash and looked in the direction of the noise and saw a round, fuzzy, brown butt running up the steep hill. I turned towards Tears with wide eyes, pointing up the hill and quietly exclaimed, “BEAR!!” She and I both got a good glance at his back end running up and out of view. So, actually we just saw a bear’s butt… but that’s better than teeth or claws! It was really exciting! I had goosebumps because I was so thrilled. It was a highlight from today for sure.
Another highlight from today was our water sources. We were able to get fresh, cold, clear water from a couple of amazing springs. This is my #1 favorite trail drink. I love a frosty bottle of cold spring water – especially when it’s so hot out here!
It was a good day. We got to leapfrog with some other hikers today that we haven’t seen in a while, in addition to a few new faces. That was fun. Today we saw Waka Waka, Giddyup, Alphabet Soup, Kudu, Kazu, Belgian Red, Frank, Hunny Bunny, Sunshine, Sneaks, Watson, Moonshine, Saggi, and a couple others. I think we’re all going to end up in Chester for a celebration tomorrow night. Yup. We are hitting a milestone tomorrow. A big one. A bittersweet one. A momentous, exciting, proud, fun milestone. I can’t wait. I’m going to dance. I’m going to smile, and maybe shed a few tears of happy. We’ll see what mood strikes me!
Tonight I love sunshine. Even when it’s blazin’, even when it melts my cheese and M&M’s, even when it makes my entire body drip sweat into the dusty ground – I still love it.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!