Mile 210 to 229
I get up before the sun and start to make instant coffee in the dark. When you are unsure if you have shaken in enough, and hear yourself saying too much is probably better than too little, stop! Or like me, you will end up putting in an entire weeks worth. Trust me, this coffee concentrate will NOT end up as a happy chapter in the book Mistakes That Worked. Ziggy turns on the patio lights and announces she has made coffee and poured orange juice for us. The day is looking up already.
My sister Susan and I play cell phone tag, trying to arrange a little Trail Angel “pick-me-up” at Highway 18. I think she is competing with her husband Mike, who took care of us in Anza. If it works out, I will end up seeing my parents who have a cabin in nearby Running Springs.
Today I get to test my legs on the uphill. My resupply is Big Bear, so in 56 miles I need to go from the desert floor at around 2000 feet, to the San Bernardino Mountains around 9000 feet. There is also a storm threatening in a few days and I prefer to be in a warm bed in Running Springs when it arrives.
It turns out this section has gotten extremely more difficult than in 2013, at least according to the failing memory of the young guy at Ziggy’s who told me it was a “piece of cake”. Even the snakes seem to be struggling up the trail.
I encounter my first significant water at Whitewater River. Although not enough to run a kayak down, it is enough to soak my feet in and filter to drink, but preferably not in that order.
Eventually I drop not far from a campsite set up by a trail maintenance crew. All I have managed to do is walk and I am totally exhausted. They, however, after slaving all day with picks and shovels in the sun, are laughing and playing Frisbee. I curse their youth and fall asleep.