Woke up today at about 5 am to the sound if birds chirping ... And the call of nature. Both the trees and the trail were calling my name, so it seemed a good time to get up, even though I wasn't planning to wake up until 6. After breakfast provided by ADZPCTKO I packed up my gear it was time to go.
At 7:30 Ethan, a recent graduate of Whitworth, and I made our way to the trail and headed out. Over the course of the first 12 miles we hiked with Erin (also from Portland) and Dutch, who hiked the AT a couple years ago. The scenery today has been pretty spectacular and we are enjoying the views of hills, greenery, and wildflowers that are still around due to the wet spring they've had down here. We took a couple of short breaks to drink some water and made it about 12 miles to Fred Canyon for a midday siesta to enjoy food, fluids, and get our feet up, along with a large group from the herd that also left Lake Morena today.
After about two hours of rest and relaxation, Ethan and I got back on the trail to make our way towards Long Creek Canyon, about 6 miles up the trail. It was a gradual climb with more great views. Along this section we met a number of hikers including Serenity and Erin, Jonathan and Andrew, Kevin, and others that I can't remember right now.
When we got to Long Creek Canyon we took a break near the water, ate a little snack, and collected some water which I treated for the first time with Aqua Mira (chlorine dioxide). After a good ~30 min break we kept going up the trail to find a place to camp for the night. After about a mile we saw where other hikers had taken a side trail down to a meadow for the night. We pushed passed this location, intending to go to Burnt Rancherias CG, but instead found a grove of pine trees (~mile 39.6) to set up camp near Balls, Sunshine, Crumbs, Barney, and a couple others that I will hopefully meet tomorrow morning.
After setting up camp, we made dinner, tried to find some sun, and headed for our tents to review maps/water sources for the next day and get warmed up, as it was 50F when we got to the trees at 6:30, and continued to drop as the sun went down.
Great 19 mile day and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!
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