Distance: 4.5 miles
Total for day 3 - 18.5 miles
Number of rattlesnakes seen: 1
As it transpired, we could have tackled the climb at noon, as after the initial exposed bit of trail, there was quite a bit of shelter. There was also quite a bit of overgrowth, which makes things interesting when you've got an extra-wide load (big closed cell mat, strapped to the back of each pack).
Our 4.5 mile walk was broken by the need for an aqua-faff, and as aqua-faffs go, it was a prolonged one. Even more time was lost in trying to find the water source. The directions of 'behind oak scrub by trail marker' wasn't overly helpful as, suddenly, after miles of no markers, there were a plethora in the vicinity of mile 502, and every one was surrounded by oak scrub.
As for the water source when we got there, well, imagine this scenario: being in need of a drink, you go out into your garden, go to your water butt and find that someone has left the lid off and that there's plenty of leaves floating in it. Fortunately, on this day, there's not a dead rodent too. So, you brush the leaves aside and take out a glass of that rainwater which, having drained off your roof, has sat in that butt for an unknown period.
That's pretty much what we did at mile 502.9, where a corrugated metal 'roof' channelled water into a tank which had considerable amounts of dead foliage floating in it. We didn't spot any dead chipmunks in this one...
We went belt, braces and then some, first pre-filtering the water, then treating it with chlorine dioxide and then putting it through our inline filters. I'm sure there will be worse water sources to come.
Eventually, we did make it to Bear Campground, which was our intended overnight halt. However, I wasn't overly happy with the name of the place, the accessibility by vehicles (still have horrors about the third night of our K2CW trip) or with the scattered bullet shells all over the place, so after considerable dithering, we opted to carry on.
We stopped at the first spot that looked sleep-on-able. It was already later than bedtime and we still needed to eat lunch (having already had tea at lunchtime). For the sixth consecutive night, that meant not enough sleep. Calculations were made and we declared a lie-in until 3.30am.
Food was eaten in superfast time (that's the cheese all gone; can't say it travels well in this heat!) and within minutes snoring was to be heard.
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