Mile reached: 454.4 (+30.2 + 0.6 bonus)
High: Finding water, soda, and hot dogs at the North Fork ranger station
Low: My feet hurt for the last 6 miles =(
I actually got started early today! I was up before the sun rose, ate, and got on trail by 6:30. I was hoping that I could put in 30 miles and make it to an essential trail angel destination for the evening.
The bulk of the day consisted of traversing through burn areas, which were only reopened last year. Signs of the fire were everywhere with whole campgrounds having burned up and the trail was somewhat overgrown in sections. The first significant landmark of the day was the North Fork Ranger Station, which allegedly had an unreliable water cache. Upon strolling in not only did I find a large water cache but a cooler filled with sodas that could be purchased for a dollar.
As I was enjoying a quick lunch with a couple others, Ron, came out and joined us. He very quickly explained that he was responsible for the cache and would be living at the ranger station for the next few weeks to look after hikers. He also claimed to have purchased the house for the legendary trail angels, Ziggy and the Bear, who finally had to close two years back. Anyway, I got suckered into staying longer than I would have otherwise when he offered to make us hotdogs.
Belly full I set out hoping to crush the remaining at miles to the final water source for the day. It was downhill and easy, so it went quickly. I hit the road and a sign pointing to a nearby KOA, so I made a detour over to get ice cream and fill up on water. The final 10 miles were the hardest. My feet mildly hurt, which might be due to my insoles wearing out.
The last mile before Agua Dulce runs through the Vasquez Rocks. They are an unnatural formation that stands out against the surroundings. Apparently, they are close enough to Hollywood that union premiums for travel don’t kick in, so numerous movies and TV series have used them as setting. Several episodes of Star Trek ironically featured the formations.
I got to town and luckily was able to tag along on a hitch to Hiker Heaven, which hosts hikers. There I met a number of other hikers followed by an evening with lots of beer and an extremely long game of Uno. Despite there being a campfire, I crashed early and hard.