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PCT 2015 Day 6: Back on Trail

  • Start: 77.3
  • End: 93.3
  • Miles: 16.0
  • Camp: After Third Gate

Having spent a while yesterday inexpertly self-diagnosing my knee injury, I took a stab at taping it up to be able to hike on it. An ACE bandage wrapped tightly above the kneecap with a thick pad over the ITB seemed to help and although I hiked slowly I managed to get 16 miles starting at 9:30am. The hitch out of Julian took a little while because it was so early – I think it would be easier in the afternoon particularly when the school day finishes. Hopefully tomorrow starting at 6am will be more miles.

The desert mountains are incredible though. Gold for miles, and covered with cacti. Also the small cacti are hilarious when you put them in the foreground of a photo.

I also remembered that I’m allergic to sunlight. We haven’t had good enough summers in the UK recently to have suffered too badly, but my crazy hand rash is coming up big in the California sunshine. Today was the first real day I had issues with it – very sore and blistering by the end of the day. I think I’ll wrap them up tomorrow, and maybe take a siesta in the middle of the day. I don’t understand what it is, why it is only on my hands, and why it doesn’t itch like the nettle rash it looks like. 

I met up with Fran and Sababa at the Third Gate water cache, having pottered up the hill alone trying to take it slowly. Gallons and gallons of lovely cool water, goodness knows how the trail angel that maintains this cache gets it all there. We met Diogenes who had taken a siesta there all afternoon and decided to hike out despite the many camping spots in the area. He’s talking about getting up at 4am and hiking morning and evening with a long break in the middle which sounds pretty sensible. It’s possible to crank out some big miles while it’s not too hot. 

We happened upon a small campsite at mile 93 and stopped and joined Simon who was already pitched up for the night. Group cooking and stargazing. They have more than the 12 stars I could see in London out here. Sadly Vega, my one reliable spot in London, remained below the horizon before hiker midnight (and therefore bedtime).

The moon is so bright we could hike at night without a head torch. Perhaps tomorrow. Certainly the desert if it is a full moon by then. 

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