The day after a zero is always so hard, but it seemed even harder in the desert, so close to the end. I didn't leave the hotel that late, sometime mid-morning, but the weather was already warming up.
Powerlines, roads, and civilization everywhere
It wasn't difficult terrain, but I could tell the trail was starting to wear me out, so I was planning to stop earlier in the day. There was a decent amount of road walking that day, and it was still strange to be so close to civilization all the time in the desert.
Then Yahtzee texted me to let me know she had come across trail magic (she had slackpacked about 17 miles on my zero in Cajon Pass) and was stopped there for the night, so I decided I'd push to see if I could make it there that night. I had to hike pretty late into the night (around 9:00 PM) but I was able to make it!
I got to eat popcorn and hang out with the same group I first met in Casa de Luna and had seen in almost every town since then. It was set up by Blender and Compass, both of whom I had come across before in Oregon, but had never really spoken to. Thank you, guys! The trail magic was great.
Like usual, I was the first one up at camp. I was headed into Big Bear City the next day, and wanted to get as close as I could. Only a mile into the day, I had to try and cross Deep Creek, which was a huge struggle. There weren't any great places to cross as far as I could see without getting my feet wet. In the end, I ended up just taking my shoes off and fording it, but I spent like 45 minutes trying to find a better solution.
The views that day was amazing, but there was very little shade and it was hot. It was also a nonstop climb, something like 15 miles long. It wasn't steep, but it was noticeably not flat.
Mild but loooooong climb
I passed the Deep Creek Hot Springs, but decided against going in because there were a ton of day users there, the temperature was ridiculously hot, and I had heard some things about the amount of fecal matter in the water… Honestly, if I was ignorant to that last part, I might have gone in.
Lots of tents around Deep Creek Hot Springs
I also the 2350-mile marker for SOBOs that day. That number blew my mind. I couldn't believe I had walked that far!
Even though I had just done it, I couldn't believe I'd actually walked this far
Everyone passed me that day because Blender and Compass had offered to drive their packs to 36 miles down the trail, and they were slackpacking those 36 miles. I camped alone at the Little Bear Springs Camp (right next to a picnic table!) as a result, which was actually alright. Like I had said earlier, I was getting used to camping alone in the desert, and wished for it sometimes.
While at camp, a couple hikers walked up to me. One of them was Timber, whom I had met on the border tag
, way back in Washington, on day 3! They were also doing the slackpack, but they ran into Blender and Compass a few miles into their hike for the day already, so they were looking at a 49-mile day. Good for you guys, seriously. My longest day was still almost 37 miles, and that felt good enough to me.