It was a 5000' elevation gain kinda day. A 17 miles with lots of water to carry kind of day. Windy, rocky, poodle-dog-bushy. Never heard of poodle dog bush? It's in the Turricula genus, though it gets moved around from time to time like every damned plant. Glad I'm not really that deeply into botany. Leaves nearly like succulents, smell like a Salvia gone bad, purple inflorescence, and, evidently, evil hairs which inject an irritant that causes rashes and lesions. An opportunistic invader, it fills the gaps left by fire. Walking through a huge burned ridge-line midday, there was no way to avoid the poodle dog. Some hikers took a highway alternate. I just danced through the thick areas hoping not to touch too much of it. We shall see in a couple days.
There were three garter snakes which slipped over the trail in front of me today. The second, having emerged from a hole in the trail, was so alarmed that it momentarily wrapped itself around my trekking pole. When it felt me move the pole slightly, it darted off into a flannel bush.
For much of the day, I was walking behind a guy named Mary Poppins who carries a pink plastic lawn flamingo named Patricia; she is his walking companion. I finally passed them as he was taking a break. He explained, in a mellow monotone, about his pseudo-avian friend, his thoughts on long-distance hiking, and his belief that one should "take it easy." I couldn't disagree.
Most of the day was tolerable. The end was excruciating. I collapsed into a wind tunnel of a campground at dusk. Water was down a reportedly steep decline, ad I decided to wait til morning to deal with it. In my bivy, hands between my thighs in a fetal position, I finally got warm enough to stop shivering. A constant, high, aggravating hurricane continued all night as I rotisseried about, wishing for sleep.