My cousin made me breakfast, took me to resupply, then dropped me off back at the trail. Thanks, Carson!

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It was significantly warmer back down at the trail than it had been at his house at slightly higher elevation. By the time I did just over one mile to the turnoff to a trail angel’s house, I’d decided to stop and wait out the sun. Plus, I wanted to meet Ziggy and the Bear. They open their yard up to hikers every April and May and are totally amazing.

Their backyard is almost all covered in canopies and I saw that it was already almost 100 degrees in the shade at 11am. The trail leaving their house is uphill and very exposed for eight miles, not something that is encouraged in the afternoon. I arrived in time to put in my order for the daily lunchtime run to pizza. They also accept mail drops, have solar showers and tubs to do laundry in, charging stations, sodas and snacks for sale, etc. Pretty much everything a hiker could want or need is available.

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A lot of hikers were there just waiting for the heat to subside. By 5:00, it had been at 100 for hours and I didn’t think it would ever go down. At 6:00, I noticed it was down to only 90 degrees in the shade so I started packing up and was on the trail at 6:30.

The trail winds next to a wind farm for a while so it was very windy. I saw my first rattlesnake of the trip right away. He only rattled at me after I took his picture and my camera beeped. Sorry, buddy.

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I got my headlamp out just after 8. The moon was casting my shadow on the ground since it’s almost full but I still like to see as much of the trail as possible in the dark. If I hadn’t put my headlamp on, I’m pretty sure I would have squashed some toads because I kept coming across them just sitting in the middle of the trail.

I usually am asleep by 8:30 so I got tired fairly quickly, but I was determined to at least get to the Whitewater Preserve turnoff to camp. When I was almost there, I saw some other headlamps of two women who had left right before I did heading down the switchbacks below me. I caught up to them on the half mile side trail at 10:00.

It was a little hard to figure out where to go in the dark but we finally found some picnic tables and set up camp. I decided to take care of the blister on my heel since it was getting so large it was in the way. I lanced it and got it almost emptied. It was warm enough that I had my quilt barely draped over me so I was able to leave my bare foot out to continue draining overnight. I threaded the blister, which means putting a needle all the way through it and leaving thread coming out either side to wick everything out. I’ve never had to do that before so we’ll see how it goes.

8.9 miles today, not counting side trails.

Written by Siren

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