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Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Comes Early

Day 139 10/29
Mileage 24
Camped by Caribou Creek

It was a rough morning. I had discovered overnight that my pad was leaking. As I roused myself, body sore from sleeping on the ground, I tried to tell my body that my morning poop was going to have to happen later, since I had a creek on one side and a sheer cliff on the other, and there was no way I could get 200 feet from the water. However, my body would have none of it. I began to panic. In a flash of lucidity, I remembered that there was a parking area with an outhouse a little more than a tenth of a mile down a side trail. It was by far the longest tenth of a mile of my life, but by some miracle, I made it. Upon my return to camp, I proceeded to look for the hole in my pad, which entailed dunking it (and part of myself) in the freezing stream. The air temperature was about freezing, and it felt like the water was not much warmer. In retrospect, I suppose it was lucky that the pad popped here, since I had the water to look for the hole. If it had popped anywhere else in the desert, I would have a snowball's chance in hell of finding the leak. After some looking, I found and patched the hole. From there, my day improved significantly. I heard a rustling in the bushes above me and turned to see a coyote running up the cliff near my campsite. It was climbing so gracefully, seemingly without effort. With this greeting from mother nature, I began my day's hike. The trail meandered generally up through forests of pines interspersed with burn areas. It really was nice. There were fall colors, too! In places it almost looked like late fall in New England. These were mostly oaks that were changing. I have 8 miles tomorrow before the hitch to Big Bear. Tonight is going to be cold. I'm several thousand feet higher than last night, and even at 5 pm, it was in the low 40s and dropping fast. I'm wearing pretty much every article of clothing I have, from my knee warmers to my rain jacket. I hope it's enough to let me sleep at least a little. My pillow, which is usually stuffed with clothes, is now filled with a hodgepodge of jerky, mangoes, nuts, and my knee brace. Despite its hard lumpiness, I just couldn't bring myself to put a pair of socks in there. Too grody. Chilly night, easy 8, resupply, then new people!




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