We woke up to epic condensation again today. The clouds has descended whilst we’d been sleeping, so our tents were soaked inside and out. We were slow to get moving, taking time to make hot coffee and keep warm. It was also a quarter mile backtrack to get water from the fire house, which took more time than we’d planned.
We were aiming for Acton KOA (Kampground of America) and knew we had to push some big miles agin. We battled again with Poodle Dog Bush early on in the day, and we’re glad we’d taken on calories and coffee first thing, needing to stay alert and coordinated to avoid the bushes on trail.
We made it to Messenger Flats campground at lunchtime where we were hoping to dry out the tents and sleeping bags. It was the coldest, windiest place we could have imagined, slightly eerie for being closed to the public and completely deserted. It’s nice to have only used real toilets today though. By real toilets I mean ones with doors rather than flushes and toilet paper. But it’s better than bushwhacking off trail and digging holes.
In the afternoon, I put in my headphones and listened to music whilst hiking for the first time this trip. It makes it easier to keep a regular pace despite the rolling terrain somehow. We made it to North Fork campground, where I had just launched into the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and came off the hill skipping and dancing like a crazy person. The campground had cold soda and Snickers bars for sale, as well as water to top up, and we found Amand, FM and Stringbean resting up when we arrived. Some were headed to the KOA like us but some decided to camp at North Fork. When the sun came out it was tempting to join them, rather than hike the 8 miles further on.
Although we slowed down substantially towards the end of the day, we were all equally tired and slowing at the same pace. Dolittle was in good spirits and borrowed my phone with its until-now much maligned T-Mobile service to order pizza for delivery to the campground. With a distinct deadline in place, we headed down the hill to meet our dinner. Chug bought us all ice cream sandwiches and we feasted like kings.
Whilst ordinarily I’d baulk at $15 for a tentsite, given the beautiful places I have camped for free in the past, the KOA had a pool and hot tub that made it more palatable. We put our laundry in, and headed for the jacuzzi where we met Crash and Big Ups. They started at the start of May and are crunching big miles so have caught up with us quickly. The hot water was good for soaking our muscles, to reassure them that the relentless punishment isn’t all we have to offer them, and we enjoyed sitting in the pool as the stars came out. I hadn’t been looking forward to Acton KOA as much as others, but it was a nice end to the day.
Miles: 25.7 + 1 for water/KOA
Camping: mile 444.3 Acton KOA