There's a creature that roams these woods. Ever elusive, it's rarely seen far less photographed. A hunter, it strikes its victims in their sleep, poisonous fangs sinking deeply into soft flesh. In the quiet hours before the dawn it slips stealthily into your tent, crawling over your body, probing your defences. While delving the depths of "plumber's canyon", you need shift but just a little and the ambush begins. ZAP! The attack is over in an instant. The pain will only be felt upon waking. What is that redness and swelling near your anal cleft? Why it's the only proof you'll have of the vicious passage of the Ass-Crack Spider. This morning Jon feels lucky to be a survivor.:-)
The cool weather early gave way to a hot and sunny day. Walking mostly through scrub and pine, the best part of the day was J.R. Walton's Pond and beyond. There were picnic tables set beneath the pine on both sides of the man-made pond as well as a couple of tent platforms. We stopped to rest and have a snack at one of the tables. While there I felt a little itching on my lower left leg near my ankle. Taking of the levagaiter, I found a tick had attached itself. I tried pulling it off with the tweezers from my first aid kit, but unfortunately managed only the body. Had to use the small blade on my Swiss Army knife to dig out the head. Nasty little critter!
On the way to Pearl Campsite, we crossed Honey Creek, Silver Creek and Moore Creek, all of which had crystal clear water leading me to believe they are spring fed. At Moore Creek we took a little time to wash off because we'll be headed to town this afternoon. Reaching camp, we simply dropped our packs next to the benches and then continued on the trail to SR 85. From the junction it was three miles down the road to the I-10 interchange which had a lot of businesses around it including WalMart. Jon had to get a money order from his grandma, who, to say the least, was not very computer literate. It took multiple tries and a lot of patience before she typed in all the correct information and punched all the correct buttons. Even after she did, there was a slight problem. The people at the money transfer point would not accept Jon's Veteran's Administration photo ID card. As the Brits would say, "Bloody hell". Jon didn't use that particular expression. :-) Luckily I was carrying my US passport, so the money was transferred to me and I handed it to Jon. Sort of laughable to think of all the hoops he needed to jump through just to get some greenbacks from granny. All's well that ends well as they say.
Money in hand we headed to the all-you-can-eat buffet at Ryan's, where after filling our plates we started tucking into the food like men half-starved. It was delicious. Neither of us had had food like this for ages. Since stepping onto the trail it had always been things like granola bars, Snickers, ramen noodles, tuna, PB&J, tortillas, pop tarts etc. Now it was steak, salad, macaroni and cheese, chicken strips, chocolate cake, soft serve ice cream and so on. I think I did myself a disservice eating so much food that my trail-shaped body wasn't used to. When I used the toilet, I was suffering. You know you're in some trouble when #1 is thicker than #2. It couldn't have been the food causing this, although the bloated feeling wasn't helping matters. I must have picked up a bug somewhere. Hopefully, my innards will settle by tomorrow's road walk or things could prove mighty interesting.
Full to bursting (Please, No!), we made the return trip to camp just as it was getting dark. While blowing up my Neoair sleeping matress, the inner baffles started to fail creating a bulge in the head area. Not a major problem, but I was sure that it would worsen. Lying in my tent I wondered in hindsight whether going into Crestview had been a good idea or not. Instead of the six-mile round trip, we could have stayed in camp and rested.
Crystal Clear Moore Creek