Distance hiked today: 26.4 miles / 42.5 km.
A day of side quests! After about 10 miles I reached the tiny town of Old Station. The restaurant was closed, but I got a soda from the gas station, ice for my insulin, and ate my snacks at a picnic table (freeze-dried guacamole from Flair Hair with cheese and Tajin spice on a tortilla - amazing). Someone even came by in a golf cart and gave us beers!
Here we exited the burn area, finally. Although dry, the forest is more alive which is refreshing. I also passed a huge hole in the ground/cave right along the trail which was cool.
Right after this was a short side trail to a neat Subway Cave - a lava tube, formed when lava flowed across the land and the outer layer cooled while the inner molten lava still flowed. I walked through it and enjoyed the cooler air inside.
The third side quest was the Trail Angel Cafe - a trail angel with an RV who sets up near the trail with chairs, cold drinks, water and snacks for free. Everyone signs the RV in permanent marker too which was fun, and I starred in my very first Tik Tok dance party.
After this was a fairly flat ridgeline with little shade, but luckily there were CLOUDS which is a novelty around here. I even got a few rain drops! Not a bad day to do this notoriously hot section.
There's no water here either, so I walked until I reached a large water cache in a tank, maintained by a local rancher. A large bull also apparently calls this place home, and he stomped around my tent for a bit before finding a spot in the bushes to sleep.
Total trail mileage: 1393.6 miles / 2242.3 km