Day 117: (17.4 miles)
mile 1606.6 – 1624
This morning we were breakfast bound at Bob’s Ranch House. I was pretty excited because I was actually hungry and they have pie. Paul would have rather gone straight to the trail, but then I didn’t see him complain about the omelet he had. Because we had such a large group we dined in the back room. Once everyone was satiated, we loaded up into Tortuga’s cars and up the hill we drove. Tortuga’s daughter Ashley drove one car and his wife (Bat Shit Crazy Mama) drove the other. By this time it was nearly 9 am, and later than we normally like to get going to get the miles in, but beggars can’t be choosy and I actually enjoyed the laid back atmosphere. Once the group photos with ALL the phones and cameras were completed our trek began again…finally.
It was great to be back at it, and I knew I’d be a little on the weak side, having taken four days off the trail, but I never expected to be wobbly. One would think the issue would be putting on packs again, but it wasn’t the weight. I felt, and so did Paul like new born giraffes trying to get our feet under us. It took most of the day to feel comfortable walking.
Most of the trail followed the contour of the mountains. Straight up on our right side and straight down on our left, with tripping hazards galore. We were told we would “love” the Marbles, but so far we are not. Deep green forested hillsides as far as the eye could see was most of the morning’s visual. As the day went on, the thin ribbon of trail threaded through wide rivers of rock that flowed between stands of pines.
We came across a rather large buck feeding near a spring who finally got annoyed enough with Paul talking at him (“I see you…You’re lucky I don’t have a rifle… Look at me when I’m talking to you…”) that he finally bounded down the gully directly in front of me. Pretty cool! The midday point was to be a swim in Fisher Lake.
Once there, we considered it, and several others swam there, but it was a little late in the day for us and starting to “cool”. Besides it had newts swimming in it and they looked like little alligators to me. Granted we know there are sharks and the ocean when we swim or surf in it, but we don’t see them…and if we did, we would get out…fast! From Fisher Lake (mile 1620) we decided to push to mile 1624 or so, as it looked like the terrain plateaued a bit which would enable us to pitch camp.
This would be nearly 18 miles, and I thought that pretty good for day one back in the saddle. Of course the last 2 miles were supremely hard. We went from a flowing stream, which had campsites, to a 1000 foot climb, followed by another equally daunting climb. Neither of these ascents were indicated in any previous year’s blogs we read, nor yogi’s notes…just say’n. Do it tonight or in the morning, either way the climb and miles needed to made, and much better to do so while it’s cooler. Just as it was getting dark we settled into the first and best “flat” spot we saw off the trail. Both our feet were screaming, like it was the first week. Hopefully, it won’t take another 500 miles to get our groove back.