May 9, Day 5
17.6 miles [98.0]
Wow, I had the hardest day. At 2 a.m. Adam woke up with an 8-10-inch long centipede under his quilt, biting him. Like a scene from a horror film, I chased that f@&*er around, dispatching it with flurry of impassioned heel-strikes. I'm not sure know how I feel about cowboy-camping anymore. Neither of us got much sleep after the event. Today's entire hike was exposed. Alien. Wind hotter than hair dryers constantly caught my umbrella, whipping my hand and head, pulling me backwards. All that would seem tolerable, but all day yesterday I had a pain in my right knee upon extension. Tonight, three miles away from camp, I paused for a breather. When I went to move, it felt like a knife had pieced my kneecap, locking my leg in place—9/10 pain. All I could think about was 'failure'. I can't let it consume me. We made an early dinner and I chugged 1,000mg of acetaminophen. Adam insisted on taking my pack for the remaining few miles. What a champ. Eat more, drink more, go slow; you must.
May 10, Day 6
11 miles 
Crossed a big milestone today—mile 100. Exited Anza-Borrego and San Felipe Hills, it feels like I'm finally out of another desert. Tried to stay on top of hydration, but nonetheless, my knee hurt all day. Luckily we only planned on making it to Warner Springs—11 miles. I spent way too much time thinking about the implications of injury. Found our way to the Community Center and was surprised at what they had to offer. We both took bucket showers and laundry which were much needed. I also purchased a pair of two-ounce flip-flips which are going to be a big score for camp-life and future showers. Made a small trek to the Post Office to pick up our resupply box. Stopped at the golf course on the way back; there was a closeout sale on junk food. Score. One of the employees was clocking out; she offered us a ride back in her bitchn' 80's Tacoma.
May 11, Day 7
0 miles 
We took our first zero today; not stoked about needing the rest so early on. I don't think Adam wanted to stop but it's clear he's worried about me. Fortunately, we both got to sleep in due to overcast skies. I wore my puffy all day; finally a nice day in the desert. We used today's downtime to rethink gear, trying not to get sucked into social media. I bought a much needed hooded shirt from 2 Foot Adventures since my right nipple had been rubbed raw by my cheap button-up. This is a major boost in my quality of life. Adam realized his pad popped in the wake of the centipede kerfuffle, but at the end of the day, a Z Lite found it's way into the hiker box. Adam snatched it up—huge score! We also ordered odor-proof bags to store food after a rogue crow took a packet of ramen from our resupply box when I wasn't looking. Finished the day with a life-affirming footbath and ate dinner in the tent.
May 12, Day 8
18 miles 
Got an early start leaving Warner Springs; I can finally wake up and pack camp in under 40 minutes. The entirety of today's hike was overcast! Gorgeous Bay Area clouds blanketed the sky which kept me cool during our 18 miles of rolling hills. My knee felt much better for the first nine miles or so, but soon after, a dull and constant pain returned. Challenging. Fortunately, we stayed at Mike's Place tonight. “Off-Trail” made us feel at home by giving us beers and cooking legit wood-fired pizzas. He even offered to let us cook—Adam made a spectacular 'za. Hung out with a dozen other hikers we had seen the past week and reminisced about our short time on trail. Possible chance of rain tonight.