Red Carpet Water Cache to Pine Canyon (mile 511)
We had the best hiking morning ever: scenic, cool, and under a canopy of oaks. Conditions deteriorated quickly at mile 500, literally. This milestone is one I had looked forward to. As we approached the marker, it seemed a proper location to enjoy lunch. Within minutes the temps quickly rose, the breeze died, and a plethora of at least 5 different types of biting, vicious, diving flies descended. You see Silly Chili is a magnet for all biting bugs, I am not. I watched him go into a frenzy, load up his pack, and take off. All I heard was, “Make your own wind!” and he was gone. He ran in the hot afternoon 5 miles uphill in 1 hour. I found him later huddled under a tree donning his rain jacket, pants, and head net. This was a very sad sight. I on the other hand slowly climbed the hill, using my bandana to swat flies, and dreamed of making snow angels. I do have to admit during this miserable time I contemplated my choice for ever hiking this trail, especially after passing 2 rattlesnakes.
The trail then descended steeply for miles and our fly friends continued to join us. My knees were killing me and I accidentally dropped my iPhone while popping Ibuprofen. I realized this of course a few miles down the trail. Silly eagerly started running up the hill to retrieve the phone. I kept going. Just as I reached the trail head, Dan was there to meet us and Silly came running down with my phone and believe it or not he liked the whole running experience. He is a machine. We celebrated finishing hiking the last miles of Southern California (108 miles in 4 days) with cold sparkling lemon water, chips, and apples. Yaaaaay. Oh and of course our friends the flies joined us.