So even though I went to bed at the same time as the sun, it rose before I did in the morning. Still made it to the trail by 7:15 and started on the days miles with the plan to stop at Mill Creek Ranger Station to get water and meet up with Wiz, who was getting a little bit later start.
The weather the past couple days has been rather chilly. Highs have been in the upper 50's or low 60's, and the lows probably in the upper 30's. In addition to that, it has been a bit breezy, especially today. The sun has been playing a cat and mouse game with the clouds all day.
Along the 7 miles to the ranger station there was another detour. This one was a road walk on a dirt road to avoid an area of the Station Fire that was apparently unsafe to hike. I didnt mind the road walk and there were some pretty great views which helped the time pass quickly. So quickly in fact that I completely bypassed the burned down Ranger Station without realizing it and didn't fill up my water bottles. I didn't find out I had missed it until I ran into Wired on the trail. up to that point I had drank a half a liter in the morning, and had another liter in my backpack which I had yet to drink. According to the water report that meant that the one liter I had would have to last me another 14 miles until water at mile 432. Wired took pity on me and gave me some of the water she had picked up, so I owe her food or drink when we get to Agua Dulce. Fortunately for me, it turned out that there was water flowing at a creek that the water report listed as "always dry" at mile 425. I took advantage and filled up another liter to carry and drink until mile 432.
At about 12:50 we stopped for lunch and ate with Wired, Top Shelf, Blister, and General Zod. After that it was only another 8 miles to camp at North Fork Ranger Station.
The miles have been pretty easy all day today, and the cool weather has been more of a blessing than a curse, especially given that fact that the weather is typically much warmer than my PNW blood would like. The only thing that has been somewhat bad is the poison oak that was on the trail the last couple miles before the Ranger Station, and some other plant/weed that grows everywhere, including all across and along the trail in some sections. Supposedly it can cause a reaction similar to, or worse than, poison oak.
I got to camp at about 4:30 and immediately made dinner, and then set up camp in the corrals, which are down the hill and out of most of the wind. The guy manning the Ranger Station as a fire lookout, Todd, has generously provided water for us too! Very nice of him to do considering there is no running water (at least not for public consumption).
Camping at the Ranger Station tonight are Wired, Top Shelf, Wiz, General Zod, Blister, and Viper. Talk in camp tonight has been about the delicious pizza and beer we will be enjoying in Agua Dulce tomorrow, as well as the hospitality of the Saufley's, which is the stuff of legend. Only 18 more miles, so we should get there in time for lunch! I love food!
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