Only 14 leisurely miles separated me from the Andersons' trail stop. Until roughly 10am, I flipped my socks, shoes, insoles, bivy, and sleeping bag over in slow clockwise turns until they were dry enough to wear or pack again. Even with the late start, there was time for two long, comfortable breaks from the monotonous chamise and scrub oak. A lunch stop under the powerline on which many of my friends are working (TRTP) provided me with a couple of huge fire ant bites; the water cache seven miles from Green Valley reminded me that there are lots of loud twenty - something hikers here. Otherwise, the day was a very gentle couple thousand foot climb. A juvenile rattlesnake of debatable species sat still on the trail for me to photograph it. I attempted to avoid a few thousand poison oak plants. Seems I failed on at least one occasion.
Effots to alter my gait to avoid my constant intense pain seem fruitful. I was able to stand in the morning without my trekking poles and to walk all day without constant anguish. New blisters arrived, so I must be effectively changing something. When I arrived at the Andersons, I even volunteered to walk the half mile down to the store.
Getting to the Andersons' wasn't even really a hitch. Before we could even unfurl a thumb, a ride appeared, a nice local homeschooling mom and her 11 year old. Everyone knows where to take hikers here. She dropped us in front of a house with a row of porta-potties, several EZ-up shelters housing old couches and chairs, and roughly 30 Hawaiian-shirt clad hikers, the twenty - something crowd from the water cache. On the far left side, using an old household stove on the driveway to stir a mammoth pot of refried beans, was Coyote. We embraced. She told us where to set up (the manzanita forest in the back of the property), to don Hawaiian shirts, and that dinner was almost ready.
Every night is taco salad night. Terri Anderson and her husband, Joe, run a well-oiled feeding machine. Hand-washing, line queueing, layer of chips, dump on meat, cheese, beans, etc. Forks in a bleach bath, plates in the garbage, find volunteers for dishes. Similarly, breakfast pancakes and coffee are served with casual military precision. Then there is partying. Lots. Too many kids for me. I grabbed Coyote and Far Out and a six pack of beer and we disappeared to chat in the forest.