River to River Trail – Day 16

Bay Creek Ranch to Petticoat Junction
6.62 miles

I thought maybe staying indoors would make it easier to hit the road early, but I guess we are just slow plodders in the morning.  Arbor took a second shower and we made our oatmeal and coffee and organized our bags.  Plus we washed the dishes we used and tidied up the spaces.

We went to the office to return the VHS tapes we used and ran into their neighbor Betty who was gregarious and delightful.  Linda showed up and it was a regular coffee clutch gab feet among us and we talked about cougars, mountain lions, poison ivy and ticks.  Betsy thinks that only one spot on Arbors leg is ivy and the rest is poison oak.  We haven’t really seen poison oak in person before, so it makes sense that we could have been rolling around in it unawares.  Arbor likes to walk around camp in his shorts and crocs too, so that could explain why he so much more than me.

We parted ways at 9:00 and headed back to the River to River trail.  Unfortunately we missed the turnoff and missed the shortcut back, and took the full loop 32 back to Ruby Junction and had to retrace our steps for another mile on top of the extra long loop.  Ugh.

We made it to the R2R junction and took off our packs for a mini break to snack and drink water.  I have to say that the past couple of days have been my least favorite part of the trail so far. The landscape is scraggly and boring and much of it is exposed to the sun, which increases the ivy too.  I’m hoping that we’ll get back to bluffs and thick canopy after Eddyville.

We took several breaks to take off our packs and rest.  With the heat now, it’s important not to push too hard and to make sure to get enough fluids and calories.  The breaks also mean we get to pick the prettiest spots to stop and enjoy.

It’s just the beginning of black raspberry season, and we’ve been finding more and more of them along the paths.  It’s a lovely great to eat them while they are still warm from the sun.

I’m afraid it was a really boring day.  We pushed toward Eddyville, but needed to stop before hand, so we could hit the post office first thing in the morning.  Finding a good place to stop has become increasingly difficult in this terrain, and finally Arbor found a grassy site under some smaller pines.  I don’t find pines very reliable hanging trees, but it slim pickings these days and were lucky just to find a spot without ivy.

The sky overhead couldn’t make up its mind.  It would be sunny and blue then dark clouds and wind that threatened rain and looping around again.  We set up as swiftly as we could, just in case, hen plopped down to rest.  We were just zoning together when Arbor moved his knee and I noticed the reddish stem and pointed it out to Arbor.  Upon closer examination, we guessed it was the culprit poison oak.  Of course he was sitting directly in it.  In fact it was all over where we’d set up.

So now being afraid to relax outside, we both retreat to our hammocks, only it’s hot and we’re tired and it’s still pretty early.  Arbor, of course, immediately starts snoring.  A nap sounded like the perfect idea, only I have a sleep disorder and a nap may mess with the very delicate balance that’s working for me right now.  I succumb anyway and I wake up to the sound of other voices coming our way.  Because it’s so hot, I only had on my sleep shorts and my bra, so instead of calling out to greet them , I stay quiet and watch as a young woman, her male partner and their dog hike by with backpacks.  I was sorry to have missed them, especially as it’s the first woman I’ve seen out here.

We were certainly awake at that point, so we got properly dressed again and grabbed dinner and ate out on the path, so that we could avoid further poison anything exposure.  We looked over the next few days and considered camping spots on the map.  Only 8 days left before the trip is over.

We went back to the hammocks and Arbor took notes and I worked on the blog.  I had originally gotten a waterproof notebook and pen to use as a backup in case we ran out of battery life on the iPad.  Instead he has completely taken it over and jots down things we see, takes notes as we chat with people, and writes passing thoughts as we hike down the trail.  He’s come to love it and I’m so glad we had the book as an option.  I believe he’s going to write a summary of the trip, based on his own notes and thoughts that I’ll publish after we get home.

It’ll be dark soon.  Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep tonight.


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