It was warm last night, but that didn’t seem to help me get started any more quickly; Quoi and I left camp after 7.
The day started off with a significant uphill, and Quoi fell behind, catching up after I stopped for several minutes to talk to a day hiker.
After crossing a road, and passing by a popular trailhead, the trail went through a pretty confusing stretch. With a small amount of snow on the trail, and the trail being quite rocky, we quickly lost the trail and, while hiking around the snow, wound up surprisingly off-trail, and we had to go up and over a small rocky prominence to get back on the trail (fortunately before we wound up behind a small mountain and even further off-trail).
As the trail progressed, it exited the rocky area and the trail and its surroundings turned a very lush green, more than making up for the small snowy detour we had.
We stopped for a break near a small creek. After we continued, Quoi quickly fell behind on an uphill. Once I got to the top of that hill, I found there was cell service, so I stopped for nearly an hour to check email and take care of some chores. I figured Quoi would catch up to me by then, but I resumed hiking before she caught up.
One of the main features of the trail in the desert was being able to see the trail a great distance ahead as it wired around the contours of the mountains. Today the trail was a bit like that, only with water and more plants.
It should not be surprising, then, that there has also been a lot of sun exposure today, and very little forest. It’s also definitely been getting warmer, and that’s slowing both Quoi and I down (though, the heat seems to affect her a lot more than it is me).
While I was taking a break, Craynip hiked past. I hadn’t seen him in a while — I think the last time was when he passed us on the way to Glen Pass — and I thought he was ahead. He wound up behind us since he took a few days off to hike around Yosemite. He hiked on before I could think to ask him if he’d seen Flowers or Dylan. I did find out later from Quoi that he had asked her if she had heard anything about them, so right now, where they are is a mystery to us.
I passed a guy out on a day hike. He commented that I was the fifth person he’d seen today with a full pack. The only thing I could think to reply was, “Well, it is a long way to Canada.”
A bit later on, I passed a horse and rider, and a dog. The encounter started off amicably enough — he had stopped at the top of a hill because he noticed I was charging up with a pretty good pace, and he didn’t want to break my stride. (I rather appreciated that.) I stopped, and then stepped off the trail (horses have right of way) so they could pass. But then his dog ran up to me, and I stopped paying attention to what he said (because, dog running towards me); all I heard was “Don’t worry, he’s friendly,” to which I replied, “I can’t tell that”. Then he rode away (and the dog followed), so I didn’t have to worry about the dog anymore. At that point, though, I noticed that he was armed with a sidearm, which seemed entirely unnecessary and retroactively ratcheted the tension level of the encounter up quite a bit.
I stopped a short distance after that encounter, at a creek, to collect water and make dinner. There were a fair number of mosquitoes flying around, and they were moderately annoying, though they left me alone for the most part after I sprayed myself with insect repellant. Quoi caught up while I was there, and made her own dinner.
While we were eating, a very gregarious hiker, Nemo, hiked up. He was wearing a loud matching red and blue shirt and pants; the shirt had extra fabric around the neck, wrapped around and tied. Quoi said he could probably win a best-dressed-hiker award. He pointed out that the shirt and pants didn’t actually match (slightly different patterns, and one’s accent color was dark blue and the other black). He started with the pants, and then found the shirt while in Warner Springs, and he had to have it since they matched so well.
Nemo was very energetic, and somewhat reminded me of the Saturday Night Live actor Chris Kattan, and I got the impression he could talk until there was no more oxygen in the room (and then somehow keep talking).
We hiked on, going another two miles to get us a little bit up the next hill, giving us two 20-mile days in a row, and getting us a little bit closer to our next resupply in South Lake Tahoe.