Tuesday, May 28, 2019 – 17.60 miles
I slept a solid eight hours and when I woke up, the temperature was warm(ish, 5:00 AM warmish) and my left shoulder/upper back was killing me. I’ve been getting a nagging ache there for awhile, but was able to ignore it before, whereas now it’s hurting every time I take a breath. A few ibuprofen took the edge off, but man. This has been a tough week. I don’t think that’s bad near the end of a hike though, since it gets you thinking that you’re ready for a break rather than that you want to keep walking.
While watching the sunrise I saw two deer, my first of this hike. Apparently the deer that try to steal your stuff prefer the north.
The scenery was at a high level when I started out, with great views of the desert and numerous campsites.
Gradually the trees disappeared, replaced by shrubs and roads and power lines. The Mill Creek Summit picnic area was a nice place for a break with its picnic benches and outhouses.
According to eTrails, camping isn’t allowed between the Messenger Flats Campground and the KOA except at North Fork Ranger Station, so I was planning to camp at Messenger Flats. Just before arriving at the campground though, I saw a spot with a gorgeous view to the right side of the trail. I left my backpack there and went to scope out the campground, but it was in trees and the views looked worse, so I decided to camp at the initial site and set up there. Again there were plenty of sticks and rocks to use in lieu of tent stakes. Beautiful sunset!