We were on trail under the stars following cairns marking the path winding up, down and around large slickrock formations by headlamp in the morning. We stopped on top one of the large formations to watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee. My feet felt so much better and I was so happy to be able to be walking in the morning without being in sheer agony. Although I was feeling better Goose and I both decided to keep the day semi short to avoid causing any more foot damage. The marked trails that we were following through the park that day however made for easy "cruiser miles" and we found ourselves done with ten miles by mid morning.
The hiking was incredible. The sun was hidden behind clouds most of the day allowing us to walk in cooler temperatures than we have yet. The rains from the night before had dampened the earth and plants giving everything in the typically parched environment a chance to flourish. Pungent fragrances filled the air, birds flitted and chirped about, small rodents scampered across the path, caterpillars munched on flowers and spun into cocoons and overwhelming colorful wildflowers stood tall for their final moments before shriveling for the winter. The wide path allowed Goose and I to walk side by side all day, with Shilo on our heels, and we enjoyed conversation and marveling at the beauty of our surroundings together. We made frequent stops to try and maintain the easier pace we were trying to keep for the day and yet we still found ourselves with over fifteen miles completed at 4pm so we made camp early for the night in a sweet little spot next to a large juniper tree and pine tree.
It was a beautiful, enjoyable day on the trail today and I am so happy to finally be able to take my focus away from my feet and onto all of the things I love about backpacking.