Happy Birthday seeeester!
And, BLISTERS. OMG...blisters. How is it I've managed to avoid these painful buggers for most of my hiking and backpacking life until now? If someone had asked me what I expected pain-wise the first few days, I would have guessed I'd be sore, feel out of shape, maybe have a nasty sunburn, etc. I never would have put my money on feeling great in all categories except my feet. Definite surprise...but I feel like such a backpacking newb.
We woke up early this morning but took our time getting out of camp. No surprise almost everyone else was gone by the time we rolled out. From the first step, I hurt. Really, really hurt. My body felt pretty good, especially given the miles of yesterday, but the insoles on my shoes are total crap and have destroyed my feet. Almost 13 miles today, and not a single step was I not in pain, which only got gradually worse as the day wore on. Around mile 5, I took off my shoes and stood in a cold creek, and then aired my feet out in the sun - I never wanted to leave! I was able to get service to call Kelli to wish her a happy birthday.
We hit Boulder Creek campsite at mile 6, where Marshall and I both would have been happy to call it a day, but we pressed on in the pursuit of miles. The rest of the day was ups and downs as far as both pain and morale went. The highlight was definitely bumping into Magic Man at the top of a long, hot climb. He was set up with camp chairs for relaxing and cold Mountain Dew, which I never could have imagined would be so tasty. He's such a nice guy - I thanked him for his generosity, and told him how sweet I think it is that he's helping his daughter on the first week of her journey. His response? "Aw well, I'm just lucky she lets me tag along." Such a response that a great dad would give - I know my Dad would say the exact same thing!
Surprisingly, I managed to avoid any run-ins with the rattlers everyone else seemed to find at some point along the trail. I did, however, bump into a king snake which scared me just as much as a rattler would have anyhow. (As someone with a debilitating paranoia of snakes, this whole journey DOES seem to be an interesting endeavor, huh?)
Another pleasant surprise at the end of day 2 is that I'm not homesick (yet). Usually, this is the time for me that the comforts of home, realities of how long I'll be gone, and everything else sets in as the initial excitement begins to wear off. So far, I don't miss home, which is promising. I'm sure at some point this will change and I'll be terribly homesick, but for now, even with my dang feet killing me, I'm still really stoked to be out here.
Lastly, I'm not quite sure when it's appropriate to begin having food cravings and fantasies, but rumor has it there's a restaurant with great burgers in our first town stop (tomorrow) at Mt. Laguna. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty excited about a burger at this point. Mostly though, I'm just hoping beyond hope that the outfitter in town has some decent insoles to help start healing my wounded feet. Tomorrow's hike promises to be brutal...