The day’s hiking was pretty uneventful. After the morning’s descent from the campsite on top of the mountain, the trail wound round the hills flanking a large creek.
I suppose the uneventfulness of the day reflects a progression in terms of fitness and strength. The hiker box at Ziggy and the Bear’s had yielded some very useful things, not least of which was a knee brace in size small. It is still too big, but it is having some proprioceptive effects and makes hiking entirely pain free.
In the afternoon, we hit Deep Creek hot springs, a “clothing optional” swimming hole at the end of the valley. So many hikers had installed themselves for the afternoon, lazily drifting between hot pools and cold pools, rocks and beach. A couple of hours slipped by without my noticing it, but at 4:15 I felt I had to move in order to find a campsite. The trail by the creek had been narrow with a steep drop on one side and a steep wall on the other with no place to sleep so I knew I had at least 4 miles to walk before I could find a spot. I tried walking without the knee brace to test my knee; it had held up just fine for the last two miles of yesterday so four seemed a good extension. At 3 miles in, I regretted it. I made it down to the Mojave River Dam and camped on a gravel road by the creek.
Chug, Dolittle, el Flaco and Frankenstein stayed in the same place and we had a good opportunity to swap dinner food. At this stage of the hike, we are all getting sick of certain types of food and camping with other people allows the chance to try other food. Frankenstein’s dehydrated refried bean, cheese, taco sauce combination is a winner, and I will have to look into that recipe next town stop.
Camping: mile 314