Date: May 7, 2017
Health: Well rested.
I had already decided that I really didn't want to hike out to the mountains in a storm so today would be a good day to spend a zero. Most hikers had thought the same so not many were leaving out today. The constant rain also kept people from heading out.
As the Community Center opens at 9am, and most hikers are awake by 5am, it was a long morning of waiting in the rain trying to find ways to spend time. A lady with an RV had shown up and she was making pancakes for breakfast for all the hikers. More trail magic!
I just can't believe the goodness of the people around the trail here. People take so much of their own time to do nice things for a bunch of smelly hikers.
After the Community Center opened everyone made their way inside and it was soon quite a scene. People were raiding and going through the hiker boxes. The boxes were plentiful as most hikers send too much stuff here on their first resupply package. I scored some trail mix and bars, along with the condiments Blü gave me. He had scored big yesterday and was now carrying way too much food.
For the past few days I've had more and more trouble with my feet not fitting in my shoes. Being on your feet for 8 hours, hiking, and the heat had made my feet so swollen that my pinky toe was being crushed against the sidewall. This wasn't something I could just walk through. I'm fairly certain I'm going to lose the toenail soon, and the toe was about to turn black.
I needed to do something and my options were clear: either cut a hole to the side of my shoe to give my toes more space, hike without socks, or I need to get shoes with a wider toe box.
Right next to the Community Center was a small gear store where they carried the Altra Lone Peaks, a very popular model on most long distance trail because of its very wide toe box and other thru-hike optimized features.
I went in and tested the shoes. I was a bit skeptical as the Altra's are a zero drop shoe (meaning the difference between the toe and heel was 0mm) and I'm accustomed to shoes with a bit more drop. My Cascadias have a 12mm drop (if I remember correctly). But as soon as I got the shoes on, they felt great. My toes were free to move and there weren't any strange pain points.
I wanted to get these shoes but the only problem was that they didn't have them in the size I wanted, which was size 10. They had them only in size 10,5. As I needed to head out tomorrow and therefore couldn't wait until Tuesday for the size 10's to arrive, I went with the 10,5's. Figuring that if they're too big, I can make it to Idyllwild with them, get size 10's from there and ship these further on the trail for when my feet have swollen more.
Most of the day was spend inside the Community Center playing, talking, and eating. A lot of trail stories were swapped. I, like most other hikers, had a footpath to sooth our hurting feet.
Later in the evening the local school at the other side of the road opened their doors and fed us with spaghetti for the price of $6.
We made plans to hike out in the morning but as we had no idea what the rain would do, we just agreed to play it by the ear. This zero was great.