Day 13, 14 miles
8 am pick up from Ziggy and the Bear’s hiker refuge. Seven of us were on the three hour drive around the second of several trail closures due to previous fires or endangered species habitats. Myself, Lucky, Gateau, Skippy, Fly Fish, Man in Black, and Footloose. We picked up 2 more on the way, Tiny and Ghost. (trail names)
A trail name is given to you by other thru hikers you meet and hike with along the way. You don’t pick your own name, and you can either accept or decline names offered. Our German friend, Frank broke his tent pole in a wind storm. He used a tent peg and duct tape to mend it. It was sticking up out of his pack while he hiked. Day hikers kept asking him where he was fly fishing and had he caught anything! And so he got his name – Fly Fish. He likes it!
Back to today’s hike. We got dropped off at the northern end of the fire closure, mile 252. Within a few minutes I knew I was in trouble. Every step felt like re-stubbing stubbed toes. I started to limp to compensate and was getting new blisters because of it. My mind and body are ready for a good day’s hike, my feet are not cooperating. I stopped many times to change bandages, loosen or tighten my shoes and take pain killers. The others were long gone. I made it to where the Hwy to Big Bear Lake crosses the PCT. 14 miles. It was weird to leave the trail. Somehow I had been managing to keep up to Fly Fish, with his crazy long legs, since day one.
At the Motel 6 there are other injured hikers to commiserate with. I take a look at my feet. They have morphed into flippers. Still narrow in the heel, fanning out towards the toes. I have new blisters to tend to. I am discouraged, but I have a plan.