Day 17 – 5/8/16
Grassy Valley 317.96 to Small camping site 335.6
Total miles: 17.64
Rattlesnake stole all the eggs from the Hobbit.
The plan was to sleep in until at least 6:30am this morning but with the sun rising before 6, the birds chirping, and the inside of my tent a little damp from condensation I decided to get up and moving by 6 am. 5 Star and I started walking out of our camping spot that was tucked away and not visible from the trail. We passed by 4 people cowboy camping (no tent) and one person in there tent. Not sure how late they got in since they weren’t there at 7:30 pm when I fell asleep.
About 10 minutes on the trail I noticed my pack felt weird. Seemed slightly off and also as if something was poking my lower back and butt on my right side. I reached down and felt the carbon pole that provides my frame support on my backpack. The pole broke through some stitching and was sticking out past the straps the keep it in. I was a little pissed that my pack broke after 300 miles. I pulled the pole out and stuck it in my side pocket. My pack frame provides an arc that allows to keep the weight off your lower back and provide air to flow between, hence the name Arc Blast. I had to adjust the other side so it didn’t have a lopsided arc. It was very uncomfortable and hot with the full pack on my back.
At 8:00 am I came across the Cedar Springs dam. I came around the mountain and then switched backed down to the dam. Walked over the bridge over the runoff and onto this big lot with huge pipes that were probably 12 feet in diameter. Guess the trail just cuts through here. Then I crossed a small private road that gave access to this lot and some buildings on the other side of the lot. Walked to the front of the fenced in buildings and started walking down the side of this street. All of a sudden a car on the other side of the street, I’m on the left side, stops and asks if I’m heading northbound and where the trail was from where I was coming. He pulls over and gets out to talk to me while another guy in a different car pulls up and the first guy tells him what I said. The first guy tells me they do small 60 mile section hikes and are parking a car in this area and driving the other back down the trail. He looks at my shoes and asks about my gaiters and then notices my shoes are Altra Lone peaks and says he has those too and that he hikes Squaw Peak with them. I tell him I’m from Phoenix too and so we talk about hiking in Phoenix and how we both like the Cholla side of Camelback. Echo Canyon can suck it! He gets back in his car and drives off after the second guy since he went too far and missed where the trail meets up with the road.
I continue on down the road for awhile watching these two guys drive back and forth down the road trying to find a spot to leave a car for a couple days. For probably 15 minutes until I started heading up a bit and came across a jeep access road and see two people walking towards me on the trail about to walk on the dirt road to a car parked right there. An older lady and a guy in his 50s. The man tells me that in a 100 yards is Team Turtle trail magic and that there is water, cherries, and bananas. Awesome! I thank them and head into an area that has a lot of trees and is completely shaded. I see a cooler and inside it is bottled water, a bag of cherries, bananas, and a trail register. I sign the register and start eating some cherries. Then I hear “Hey! Stay out of my cooler!” I look up and see 5 Star walking up carrying a bag of apples. He told me that they forgot to put the apples in the chest so they gave them to him to put in the cooler. 5 Star and I sit eating cherries and spitting the pits off into the trees. Maybe a cherry tree will grow there one day. 5 Star signs the register and sees Rattlesnake signed before me yesterday and said “thanks for the eggs.” Apparently there were hard boiled eggs. The Hobbit was upset that there weren’t any eggs left. Later on down the trail we saw peeled egg shells.
As 5 Star and I were leaving the trail magic he reminded me it was Mother’s Day. I checked my phone and saw I had 4g. I called my mom and talked to her as I hiked up and around Silverwood Lake. 5 Star was in front of me and decided to go down and see how cold the lake was when we came to a small Sandy beach. I was still talking to my mom so I stood there for a bit and then saw he was taking his clothes off. I walked down and put my hand in and it was cold! I told 5 Star to enjoy his swim in his birthday suit and walked off. He kept his boxer briefs in. As I walked up and rounded a corner I saw him swimming back to the beach. He looked very cold. He later told me it was nice for all of 5 seconds.
I continued talking to my mom for almost an hour while walking around the lake. After I hung up I was only half a mile from the side road down to a picnic area that had water and toilets. I get to the road and notice I have to walk back the way I came. I check my other app and it showed I could have gotten off sooner. I wonder which route 5 Star and the Hobbit will take. I walk up to a big pavilion and don’t see anyone. On one of the tables there is a menu for food tied to the table. What is this?! Burgers and fries delivered here? Yes please!
After a couple minutes I decide to walk around to see if there is any other pavilions. I round around corner and see a bunch of buildings for toliets, and on the other side of those and some trees I see 5 Star. I tell him the route I came in and he says I could have walked down one of the service roads we crossed to get here. I tell him about the menu and we decide to go over to that pavilion. We wait a bit thinking how the Hobbit will get here. He uses paper maps so I look at the maps I have on my phone and it shows the same way I came in. I leave a note just in case and then we head over.
I pull out my tent and sleeping quilt to lay in the sun since it got a little wet last night from the condensation. We look at the menu and I call the number to see if what our eyes are seeing is true. I tell the lady that I’ll call back in 5 minutes once we decide. I get a bacon cheeseburger with an onion ring and BBQ sauce, 5 Star gets a cheeseburger with thousand island, and we share a large fry with nacho cheese. The lady says she’ll be there in 25 minutes. Almost immediately The Hobbit walks up and we show him the menu and that he should order quickly. He calls up and gets a burger and small fry. He pulls out his money sets it on the table and waits patiently. It was kind of funny to see.
While waiting for the food to arrive two girls show up that we have been leapfrogging with the since yesterday. Yesterday they were not very friendly. We would say hi and we might get a nod back. The Hobbit guessed they were probably having a bad day. They set their packs down on a table on the other side of the pavillion. 5 Star and I say hello and then got to work on trying to fix my pack. Luckily I was able to adjust some straps so that the pole wasn’t sticking through a hole where the stitching came undone. Hopefully it holds.
After we finished the girls asked us how far we normally go in a day. We said 20 usually but we’ve been going slower the last few days because of deep creek. They tell us how they camped near deep creek and that the local drunks went exploring at night and found them and were making coyote calls. After a bit they warmed up to us and are very nice. They are both in the army on a 2 week leave. One said the last couple days was an ego check. She didn’t think it would be so hard since they are used to carrying 80 pound packs on their ruck marches. She said the difference is you only carry that pack for maybe 5 miles and the terrain is much flatter.
After a few minutes our food shows up and we inhale the burgers and fries. Fries and nacho cheese is amazing by the way. We talk with the two girls for another hour or so, I take advantage of having 4G and update the site. The girls take off and we say good bye. I wash my feet from a spigot and then use the toilet. The first door I open didn’t have a toliet. Was kind of strange. Luckily door number 2 did. It’s so nice not having to dig a hole and use the bare minimum of toliet paper.
After, feeling like a new man and much lighter I packed up my stuff filled up my water bottles and was ready to leave. It was a nice 3 hour break but we still have at least 5 more miles and it was 1 pm. We weren’t sure where we were camping since there didn’t seem to be many camping sites listed and the ones that were are pretty small with only enough space for one tent.
The next few miles were a little warm and it had a lot of uphill. About 4 miles later we run into Wishbone who we camped with last night. We say hello and continue on.
The last couple miles of the day were pretty rough. The trail had a steady decline and wasn’t too rocky but my feet were done for the day. The trail was following along the Ridgeline of a mountain and there definitely was not a place to camp for awhile.
Eventually the trail headed down closer to the valley floor but it didn’t look like we would get down there. 5 Star and I came across a small tent site but it was on a slope so we continued on to another one that was listed only 0.1 miles further. Right off the trail was a flat area big enough for two small tents. Maybe 3 if you really squeezed in. I sit down and say we could cowboy camp. 5 Star walks around a bit more and comes back and agrees with cowboy camping. A few minutes later the Hobbit shows up and thirds the agreement for cowboy camping. We take out our pads and start eating what’s left of our food. Although I still have quite a bit.
30 minutes later Wishbone walks up and we tell her we are cowboy camping and she is more than welcome to share out spot and cowgirl camp. We sit and talk for a couple hours and discussions always come back to food it seems. A group we’ve leap frogged with since day 1 walks by and we talk about our McDonald order for tomorrow morning and say we’ll see them bright and early.
Wishbone, the Hobbit, and 5 Star all get in their bags and start falling asleep around 7 pm (still tons of light) while I sit up freezing my hands off typing this entry unail 8. I roll over on my pad while typing and face the Hobbit and he kind of wakes up and asks me if someone is drinking chocolate milk. I look around chuckling and ask him if he’s dreaming. He responds “I guess so” and goes back to sleep. Guess he’s already dreaming about tomorrow. Not surprising that the Hobbit would dream about food though.