Location: Newhall Shelter
Joe and Max left before me this morning. They planned 16 miles and I only planned nine, so I doubt I’ll ever see them again. On the last descent of the day, Greg caught up to me. I have to slow down on the manmade rock stairs on the mountain. While nature can make a difficult staircase, man can make a hard one also. The steps are staggered and of varying heights. Some stairs are six inches high and others 18 inches. My quads can barely carry me up the rocks and my knees can barely survive the descent. I have to always put my right foot down first. My right knee won’t support my body long enough for me to step down with my left. When Greg caught me, he said ‘Are you injured?’ I said no.
‘Slow and steady win the race?’ he said.
‘No,’ I said, ‘slow and steady and I’ll finish the race.’
Greg told me that Eric had to leave the trail. His knee and ankle were injured too badly for him to continue. He had not fallen, but the 22 mile day wore him out. Greg thinks Eric may have just been frustrated and created a phantom injury just to get off the trail with his dignity intact.
Greg and I hiked to the Newhall Shelter and gathered wood for a fire. Greg, an Eagle Scout, showed me how to make a campfire because I didn’t know how to make a quality fire. Andrew, aka Kona, from Arizona, was already at the shelter. He had been averaging 20 mile days to start his hike and planned to finish in four months. He was a pleasant character but he wouldn’t stop talking. He had a story or comment on every subject that came up in conversation. I don’t know where he found so much energy after hiking so far so fast.
Four Navy sailors arrived next. They were hiking north and only hiking the 100 mile wilderness while on leave. They had great food and shared pudding with Greg and me who drooled over their meals.