But you do what you must, and we hiked in to find a center of wonderfulness: food, outdoor showers, other nice hikers, and even a laundry service. I retreated to the loaner clothes closet. Typically on the trail you must do laundry sweating in your rain gear, but the community center had an odd assortment of clothes which you could wear for the duration. I selected an Amish looking flowered dress and emerged much to the amusement of Shepherd and Herro, who had arrived that morning and were on their second meal of the day with no inclination of leaving. "Monkey Bars has got it going on!" they hooted. Flash and I were inspired to take an American Gothic photo in our dresses. I haven't seen a copy, but I am sure we look amazing.
|HikerTrash (and a wonderful volunteer) at the community center. Wild Card, Guy Waiting for a Tent, and Shepherd.|
But at least I get to do some of it. We gathered our laundry and piled into the shuttle. Soon we would be back in San Diego, at the trail angels', amid a fresh crop of hikers who hung on our every word about Section A. They rushed to the store to get more water bottles. We looked at their packs and shook our heads. Those packs were huge! A bear canister in the desert? I didn't have the heart to say anything. They would learn. The miles have a way of teaching you things.
|Eagle Rock. Every single person takes a picture of this.|
- Figure out your mile per liter ratio. Mine is about 1 liter per 5 miles. Yours could be more. It probably isn't much less.
- Dry camping is not something to be feared. It's freeing to not be tied to a water source. Pick food that doesn't take a lot of water to hydrate and plan on an extra liter to liter and a half.
- Stop. We stopped every two hours or so to take off our shoes and socks, clean our feet with a bandanna and apply body glide. The result? No blisters.
- Beware the wind. People without free standing tents were out of luck. We had to pass up campsites due to wind. Know how to set up your tent in the wind.
- Thinner socks!
- Bolt energy chews! And all you sugar free people, yes in everyday life simple sugars should not be consumed in high doses. Even most backpackers, who cover maybe 8 miles a day tops, don't need much. But try a prolonged effort for at least ten hours a day, day after day and see how you do.