Today was a very windy day.
We weren’t sure there would be water at our proposed overnight stopping point in Smith Mill Hollow, so we filled up with water before leaving Brazil Creek. Once more we had a late start, and we were delayed even more when right at the start of the hike Ginger managed to slip into a muddy pool and get her shoes all wet and full of mud. It took a while to dry and clean things out. Wearing my huaraches I was able to stroll straight through all the mud.
Today’s hike started with a climb again! This time the trail had a lot more ups and downs. We took a short lunch break sat by the trail enjoying the sunshine, which was when I took today’s self portrait(s).
I can’t praise my home-made huaraches enough. They’ve worked really well, it is great to be able to wade straight across creeks and through mud. I’ve not had any problems with hurting my feet. In 36 miles I’ve only caught my feet on sticks twice. Stones getting caught on the foot-bed isn’t much of a problem, I pick up about one a mile and because there’s no straps etc. to keep them in, they normally come straight back out. I’ve extended the sole at the front which helps prevent me from stubbing my toes. The rough foot bed surface on my latest pair has got round the problem of my feet slipping off of the foot bed when they are wet. As for getting cold, I can go barefoot to below freezing with no problem providing I’m moving, and I’ve a really nice pair of woolen socks that Ginger has made for my huaraches – they have a separate toe.
Once we’d dropped into Smith Mill Hollow, we found the creek had plenty of water in it. So much for carrying a load of extra water. We decided to hike on down to where the trail rises back up out of the hollow before looking for a campsite. We bushwhacked for about a quarter mile from the trail to the creek – only to find the previously full creek absolutely dry. So it was just as well we had plenty of water with us.
The wind was gusting to over forty mph and it didn’t feel very safe to be in among all the trees. We checked the trees near our chosen camping spot and none of them looked rotten or likely to fall. For the first time we had to set guy ropes on the tent to keep it steady. It was while we were surveying the area that Ginger saw a tree fall about 600 yards away. Not good. We carry a NOAA weather alert radio, and the forecast said that the wind would drop in the evening which was comforting, but we decided not to try lighting a fire in the gusty wind. With the wind, which had shifted from the South to the North came a rapid drop in temperature – around 20 degrees.
In the evening we heard a very raucous pack of coyotes run the trail up the hollow, 400 odd yards away. Coyotes sound pretty otherworldly at the best of times, sitting in the dark listening to them pass by was an unnerving experience which led to a discussion on the merits of carrying a sidearm. Coyotes, of course, aren’t known for attacking people, but that information doesn’t help when you think about them running around outside your tent!