Made it to 611 or so. There is spotty water out here, so I filled six liters at Robin Bird Spring. It took some time, the water trickling out at a desert pace. Many other hikers had planned on a fire tank with complicated instructions for water extraction a few miles down; nearly every hiker planned on the Kelso Valley Road water cache at mile 615 or so. I decided that I wasn't interested in getting off trail just because I didn't want to carry a few extra pounds. Besides, the spring water tasted good, and there was always the warning to heed regarding not counting on caches. A guy from the UK smugly reminded me that there was probably water at the aforementioned locations. I suppressed the urge to smack him and told him that I preferred to be prepared for this damned drought. About an hour later, as I was preparing to leave, he asked the crowd if anyone had spare gauze for his foot-wrapping experiment. I told him that since I was prepared, I happened to have some extra. He promised me a beer sometime.
Around 10pm, cold and sweating through a snag-tangled patch of ash-sand, I lost my balance stepping over a downed, burned tree. My left hand shot out, trekking pole awkwardly smacking my thigh, and grasped at a ragged, broken branch to stop my imminent tumble. Safely on the other side of the obstacle, I realized that my index finger was gushing blood. Sharp, burned tree branch had sliced to the bone on the inside part of the finger, grazing the webbing between it and the middle one. Nice to have an extra liter of water to irrigate the wound. Too bad I gave that asshole my gauze. It bled heavily for about half an hour as I stumbled another mile to make my goal of 20. Most of my gear acquired blood droplets by the time I'd unpacked my sleeping gear and first aid kit. A few gauze pads and some serious pressure finally chilled it out, and I attempted some sleep.