570.9 – 594.23
We are firmly in one of the scariest sections of the desert for me. The next 50 miles the water is very scarce so we have to time our hiking for early morning and late evening only, and carry a LOT of water each time. We didn’t quite make it up as far as we’d hoped last night so I’m up early and on the trail by 5am. Still not super early but I needed sleeeep 🙂
Tara appeared in the night, having night hiked in with Sam (who continued on to find Cookie who hiked further than us).
It’s a windy, leg burning climb to wake me up. The extra water weight is killing my shoulders- I don’t think my pack is rated for this much weight! I pass a bunch of hikers hidden under trees either cowboy camping or in their tents. I’m not sure who they are (new people!)- it’s cool we now know our friends by our tents and our footprints.
By 630am it’s clearly evident it’s going to be a burner. I cover up EVERYTHING- full burqua plus a coat SPF 100000 suncream. I look like some kind of ghostly, desert-dwelling bank robber. All of the sexy sexy clothes to attract the hiker boys.
I’m now out on an exposed gravely ridge, heading downhill, with the sun biting. I’m headed for the spring and a siesta! All of a sudden my pole collapses and I stack it towards the mountain (not off the side thankfully!!) And get myself a nice gravely cut down my leg. Bugger.
I’m passed by speedy long legged Kyle, super focused and determined Jae, and crazy Mexican-ballad-singing-at-the-top-of-his-voice-whilst-running-downhill Rodrigo. It’s not long until we are at the spring, and there is water here!!! Hooray!!! Except that means I’ve carried 6kg for no bloody reason. Grrr.
There is another group here at the spring that zoomed past us when we were faffing about in the mud yesterdsy. They night hiked all the way in and are now headed out a few miles. Crazy- it’s too hot already for more hiking!
We all pull out our sleeping mats, get some water and eat some food before passing out into a glorious nap. At some point Chloe ans Ceili arrive, then Cheech and Chong, Sam and Cookie and Tara! All of the people 🙂
Some trail angels arrive and hand out little bottles of water! Phenomenal. I’ve decided that my sun umbrella is not worth its weight and am posting it away, but get everyone to sign it while we are hanging about. Sam takes a liking to it and falls asleep with it, so I leave it in his safe keeping until the next town.
I get antsy and end up leaving at 315pm just after the twins (Chloe & Ceili. Not actually twins -they wear matching Wesleyan Running Shirts) despite Rodrigos yells that it is too early and I will be sorry.
Turns out it’s too early and I am very sorry. So hot!!! All the trees disappear and I enter a burn zone where there was a recent fire and NO shade anywhere. Nada. I can feel the heat through my shoes and reflecting off the ground all around me. I think this might actually be some kind of giant desert version of a Hansel & Gretel thru-hiker oven. I pass by a little camp of tents and tarps set up by the speedy group that left this morning. Their attempts do nothing to block the sun and I wonder if I should check if they have actually roasted. Or at least roll them over and baste them for the giants.
It’s not until about 530pm that it feels like it might be an ok time to hike. Oh well. I catch up to the girls and have a mini boulder-shaded rest with them before hiking on. There’s a beautiful big open field, but I want to get a couple more miles under my belt and feel like a solo night so I keep going.
Stupid idea. My bad-camping-spot karma kicks in and I can’t find anywhere to camp. The light is disappearing so I grab the next ok spot I find, which is up a hill on the side of the trail. It’s actually not a bad spot, nicely protected but on a bit of an angle. It’s a gorgeous cowboy camp kinda night so I say goodnight to the stars and sleep.