Day 1                  
Still in the first hour of the hike. Feet were still okay.   Short break at Misty Falls. Note shadowy fiend in foreground.   Looking back, past a wall of rock, into lower Paradise valley.
A beautiful river scene at the hottest part of the day.   Tired and famished. Eat or sleep? That is the question.   Aching all over, I retreat into my nightly coccoon.

I didn't realize it when I started, but I'd grabbed the wrong boots when leaving the house. I have two identical pairs - one, a full size smaller than the other. The damage really starts when you go downhill, which didn't happen for the first two days. I would soon be paying for that mistake.

This day consisted of almost constant climbing. The weather was hot (about 90 most of the day), and I averaged about 8 liters of water each day. Big Rock surrounds you from the very beginning, and the sight of rushing, crystal clear water never gets old.

The first day is a crash-course in conditioning, and I was a full-blown zombie by the time I reached my camp for the evening.