Today was one of my longest days at around 21 miles and I felt great! It was also the beginning of something I had dreaded but know that day will have to come someday. Sorry male readers you can skip ahead, but my monthly visitor came overnight. I had leaked all over my underwear and running shorts (I wear my hiking shorts to bed usually). It was quite traumatic to wake up to this. Like most ladies, I planned on using the Diva Cup on trail. I was able to rinse my things before I left so that was good. I switched into my town compression shorts to hike in until my normal shorts dried. Thankfully I had a second pair, though they are not my most favorite to hike in because they are so tiny.
GB said he would wake up at 4am with me and he did! I am so proud of him for waking up so early. He waited patiently for me while I frantically packed up my things after a horrid morning trying to clean myself up. We headed out in the dark to an immediate steep incline up a ridge. I was so thankful to be doing this at night and not late afternoon yesterday. We both succumbed to Pop Tarts for breakfast even though we told ourselves we wouldn't do it. But they have SO many calories in such a small form. Normally I would go through four snacks in the morning and now the Pop Tarts can last at least 2-3 hours for me. It wasn't long before we didn't need the headlamp anymore. The ridge during sunrise was oh so beautiful. It's always my favorite thing to see in the mornings. The sunrises have been so pink/grapefruit because we're so close to Los Angeles' smog.
We reached the junction to Devils Punchbowl and ran into three older men who do a mile hike every morning before work, they were precious. They told us the Punchbowl was really cool so we were excited to see it. When we reached the visitors center, I needed to find a restroom ASAP. There was just a gross smelly pit toilet but I used it anyways. I guess my period was heavy or something bc I had to empty the cup already. As I stood there hovered over the smelly toilet, horrified with all the blood on my hands, I had no clue how I should rinse it. So I grabbed my water bottle and rinsed what I could out with it. It's so sad that I have to use my precious water for this. I wiped what I could with a wet wipe and just wanted out of there. I finally finished and used hand sanitizer at least five times. I also grabbed a bunch of TP to take with me.
We then went and did the Devils Punchbowl loop. It was pretty cool to see all the rocks and different layers shifted from the earthquake. We climbed down and then all the way out and it got hot fast. This added an additional 2.6 miles to our day. As we headed back to the PCT, the slow steady incline was pretty tough in the heat. We ran into "Ghost" at the junction. He's this section hiker we saw yesterday who came to us and disappeared into the woods, but then he'd show up again out of nowhere. We headed back on the trail and was looking forward to our next water source. We had to stock up here because there is a hot climb out of the creek. The climb was up to Burkhart Saddle. Man, we were dying and slugging along. It was so long and exposed the whole l way. Once again, we saw no thru hikers on detour. I finally reached the top of the saddle and could not wait to lay down. GB had found the only tree with shade up here and I plopped all my things down and laid down as fast I could. I was also starving so bad but was too tired to get anything out. We took a good long siesta here and Ghost also came up. We decided that we should be optimistic and try to make it to mile 400 today since we've been slacking the previous days a little.
We went all the way down to the next creek for water and Ghost shows up again, which is also the last time we saw him. We were finally back on the PCT again! So nice to see tracks and pole marks. We also ran into Kristen and Heartbreaker. I was so glad she caught up already. The next few miles were just slow and steady. We kept telling ourselves we can make it to 400. The temperature was way cooler and not bad at all so this was like luxury. We pushed it all the way to 399.42 and set up camp. GB's feet were hurting pretty bad so I didn't want to make him go all the way. We set up camp and plan on seeing the mile marker tomorrow in the morning. 'Twas a very long and productive day.