Mile 289.9—Bush camp (14.8 miles)Friday, April 12

I… don’t think I’m a big fan of zero days anymore. Don’t get me wrong—I like rest and being flat, and the body needs it, and all those errands take time, and sleep is magical. But a full zero really leeches the sense of mission. You never really get out of town early. You—or I, anyway—feel soft and unfocused, and it’s hard to get back on track, with that pack freshly full of heavy food. I like a good nero: Roll into town early, get breakfast, pick up the box or buy groceries, get organized, get lunch, get back out. Or stay one night to dry things out.

Unless you’re nursing an injury, the main purpose of zeroes is to eat. Chip away at the calorie deficit so you don’t lose weight too fast. Massive breakfast; digest; massive lunch; digest; three candy bars and a quart of Gatorade; digest; massive dinner, including dessert; digest; sleep.

Anyway, I inadvertently packed my headlamp somewhere, so my choices were to unpack (ohgod, please, no) or just wait until 7, get hotel coffee, and head out after dawn. So… a late start, at 7:30ish, up the massive hill. No 17 miles for me today!

Random: Why is hotel coffee always so terrible?

Anyhoo… weird day. Kind of depressing, and I can’t pinpoint why. The terrain was great. It rained briefly, then the sun came out. The climb out of Hot Springs was long, but not as beastly as I remembered. I think things started to go south when a young hiker told me that “People of your age—40s, 50s—smoke a lot of weed.” Thus reminding me that I’m an old lady. On the other hand, I’d say he was off by a decade, so there’s that.

Maybe it’s because this is that terrible stretch where everybody started getting sick with the plague, puking in the shelters, and all that. Another second timer put it perfectly: “This whole trail is deja vu.”

I’m camped too close to a road on a Friday night, but it feels OK. And there are a bunch of thrus back on the other side. I would have stayed over there, but it’s a weed crowd.

I’m seeing new faces. Gah. Have I fallen behind? Pushed ahead? Can’t tell. There’s no center to this thing.

Tomorrow I’ll hit 300 miles! I’ll try not to miss it this time!

Oh! Trotter’s back at the shelter, maybe 4 miles back. Zippy was on her way there, and apparently she took a zero on Max Patch! Birkie got an ankle brace, and she and Strider were slackpacking Lemon Gap to Hot Springs todsy to make up those miles. And that’s it for As the Trail Turns. 😁