By this morning, I definitely felt that I needed to find a way to give Takoda a break. My mother was planning to meet us at Old Station on Tuesday, and I contacted her to see if she could come up earlier. That's when I heard that back in Topanga where we live, a fire had broken out, and they were evacuating a lot of homes around us. The drought has caused a lot of problems throughout California, and we had all hoped that El Nino would bring some relief; it did, but not everywhere, and ironically the southern part of the state where we live had yet another extremely dry year despite the dire predictions of flood and mudslides. Northern California and Oregon and Washington usually get drier winters with an El Nino year, and I had hoped that would result in a lower snow pack for my ride. That turned out not to be the case at all, and there was even record snowfall in many parts of the state. It is wonderful news in terms of water for people and the environment alike, and I'm grateful for all the good effects (although I wish we'd had some of that good stuff back at home too!); all that snow is not such a help, however, in terms of doing the trail. I wish I'd had a crystal ball and could have known what was coming enough to do the trail last year, in 2015, which was a record dry year all along the coast. That of course caused devastating fires, especially in Washington, but it also created incredible trail conditions free of the sort of obstacles that I am dealing with now.
I'm camping tonight at Rock Creek, another place where I cached food. My mother is going to meet us there tomorrow morning, after driving up from L.A., and she will pick up Takoda. We have a shorter ride today, and it's the closest road crossing where he can be picked up. Thankfully we have a longtime family friend in Redding, Pam Williams, who agreed to let Takoda stay with her and her horse for a while so that he can fully recover. We stopped often along the trail and took it as easy as possible on him. He is not limping or visibly in pain, but he continues to have some slight swelling in his hock area, and I don't want to risk creating a bigger problem.