Day 12 - Mike's Place
People started getting up early today. Me and Daniel left around 6:30 am. People were talking about Mike's Place, a ranch near the trail, which was the next water source and also a place where hikers can hang out. The miles to get there were mostly uphill. We stopped for breakfast in a few miles, and heard a voice from the bushes "Hey, there's an old man pooping over here.". It was James, we couldn't see him anyway, but he didn't want us to be surprised. The miles seems to come so easy in the cool morning hours. We reached the tank for Mike's Place, finding Daniel from Texas there. We talked him into coming down and checking it out. Mike wasn't there, he comes on weekends, but there was a caretaker, Josh, another guy, and a thru-hiker named Marbles who'd been there a week. They don't mind people staying for neros and zeros as long as they help out. They serve pizzas for dinner and pancakes for breakfast. It was a serious vortex, more people kept showing up. The French Canadian girls decided to stay the night and help with the pizza. We left around 3, after hanging out there for three hours in the heat of the day. It was uphill for a few more miles. I was feeling tired still, wishing I had done less socializing and more napping at Mike's. We got up this hill, looking out at an overlook, and I was just like, I can't go any further right now. I laid down on my polycro sheet and napped with my umbrella over me for shade. It was a beautiful spot to nap. Joe came up, stopped with us for a bit, smoking his pipe. He's going all the way to Paradise Valley Cafe tomorrow. We hiked with Joe for a few miles, but we don't have a deadline, so we camped at mile 131.5, in a valley near a bone dry stream bed. We were just sitting overlooking the valley, hearing voices pass us. I thought I heard Brandon's laugh, so I stood up, and he was there with James looking for a spot. He came over and we all camped near each other. Daniel talked me into cowboy camping tonight. I laid out my polycro and my foam pad, with my sleeping bag on top. It was a little windy and not too cold, a good night to try it. I slept really well. It was nice to just be able to look up at the stars. I was really missing home and Ian tonight. It was a rough day, at least mentally for me.