I take my morning coffee break at a creek, the last water source for 15 miles. As such, I spend an exorbitant amount of time there drinking coffee, gathering water, brushing teeth and I even comb my hair (!). A woman thru-hiker with a huge pack slogs past me while I’m doing this. She just started yesterday. Looks like she’s struggling, which somehow inspires me. I’ve been complaining to myself of the weight of my pack - too much food - but my pack is far lighter than hers and if she can do it, I can do it.
The cool, energetic morning transforms into a scorching, woozy afternoon. I reach my next water source, which happens to coincide with a 16 mile no-camping zone before 4 pm. With nowhere to camp within a reasonable distance, I wander around the picnic area like a lost mutt looking for reception. I’m surprised at how quickly one can adjust to the wilderness and become overwhelmed at the sight of a crowded picnic area. Temped by the road and a cheap hotel room all to myself, I make the decision to go into town for the night.
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