On the trail at 6:30 a.m. The first four miles of trail barely existed. Plus the brown wooden posts that were supposed to show the way were hard to see from a distance. I wandered a lot trying to find the posts. I fell while sliding down a slope and gouged my left palm. Happily, taller posts replaced the short ones. I made good progress through desert shrubland. About 7 miles on the day, the trail descended to a creosote bush flat and arrived at the Hwy 81 water cache. Night Crawler and Bugs were filling their bottles (see photo). Soon other hikers arrived. Past the highway, the trail followed a two-track road across a bajada with desert shrubland. The wind blew constantly under cloudless skies. At 20 miles on the day, I sat under a spreading ash tree and inspected my painful feet. Deep blisters. The last three miles tested my mettle of pain tolerance. At 23 miles at 5:30 pm, I stopped at a stock pond. Trees provided shade and broke the wind a bit. I ate dinner with my biker pals then retired to my tent. 23 miles today. I hope my feet will recover a bit overnight.