I had heard the sunrise was great at the overlook so I walked out when I opened my eyes again at 6am and saw an orangey glow through my tent. I must have gotten out there a little too late though. It was nice light but not a spectacular sunrise. I grabbed my food bag and got back in my tent for some writing, reading, and breakfast in bed.
Then I spent a little bit of time sorting through my food to allocate more snacks to bigger days. I do think I have enough now. I can use my fifth dinner for lunch on the last day since I’ll be in town for dinner, and I forgot I had thrown some random things in that can be added to my other lunches and snacks to get me through. This might be one of the very few times when I will be arriving in town with no food left. That’s how it should be so you’re not carrying extra weight, but I worry about being hungry so I always have more food.
Today was much easier than yesterday, with the uphills and downhills alternating throughout the day so I wasn’t just climbing forever again. It was really hot though and I was in the sun for a large portion of the day. My sunburned calves felt the heat even more, and every time a piece of grass or something from the side of the trail brushed them, it felt like I was getting stung.
I started smelling smoke and seeing a haze in the distance around the middle of the afternoon. Eventually some hikers coming the other direction had news – the “closer” fire is a prescribed burn and there’s another one 20-30 miles away. The smoke wasn’t helping my breathing on the uphill, but at least my final climb of the day was mostly in the shade. I was starting to get a bit of a headache when I reached camp.
I’m camped at the higher branch of Straight Creek at 11,470′, also my highest point of the day after 15.7 miles and 2700′ of elevation gain. I got to camp before 5 pm but it’s a really nice campsite and water source so I stayed. I could have only gone another mile anyway to a supposedly crappier campsite. I wanted to do a higher mileage day tomorrow to get closer to town for Thursday but an afternoon storm will most likely get in the way of that so there was no point in going farther tonight. The hikers who kept going by as I was already done all my chores did make me second guess that for a minute.
I cooked dinner, set up my tent, read a couple chapters of my book, got some more water, and generally puttered around trying to take up more time before getting in bed. But the mosquitoes were getting worse so I gave in and got in the tent to finish getting ready for bed and read some more.
There have been a couple of good breezes up here, and I’m in the last little set of trees at the edge of treeline, so I hope it’s not too cold tonight. The smoke seems to have dissipated a little though, although maybe I’ve just gotten used to it.