594.23 – 618.52
Today I’m up crazy early to reach the next water source before I get cooked. Thankfully I was not eaten by a mountain lion – a thought that ran through my mind as I was in my hidden spot.. no-one would have found me for months or years… eeps! Some crazy night hikers passed me during the night – I heard their voices echoing up to my little spot. It’s either early rising or late hiking in the desert. I hike with my headlamp on and of course I see a bazillion better spots about a mile down the road. Bugger.
The sun streams beautifully through the pine trees and the air is lovely and fresh. I pass a little dirt side road and see 5 Fingers and 2 identifiable slugs fast asleep. Then I hit the 600 mile marker! YEOW! And then the second 600 mile marker…and the third. BAH. Everyone seems to have the need to leave their own incorrect mile markers out here.
After the obligatory selfies I make it to the first water source and climb up over a fence and up a hill a little to get to a spot that is clear and easy to fill from.
There are a couple of other hikers camped here (one named Big Boy Scout… I can’t remember the others), all rising early and keen to get to the next water too. It’s a never ending race – must do the miles to get to the next water, to get to the next water, to get to the next water… to, you know, not die.
After a little brekkie of my awesome granola in my little ziplock baggie (nice cold soy milk from the powder I mixed into every granola bag, with the water from the stream) while sitting under a tree I head out about 830am and hike on to mile 608. The water isn’t far so wouldn’t normally warrant a stop, but it’s the last reliable water for 50 miles, so I have to make sure I fill up there.
The hike in is really nice, walking through a park of pine trees. The water is .8 mile down a dirt road in a nice trough with a good flow. Yorkie and Atilla are there hanging out in the shade. There are some nice trees to nap under – so I set up a little camp, drink a tonne of water, air my feet out, wash some socks in the little stream that comes out the other side of the trough, and fall asleep. I wait out heat of day under pine trees and wake up an hour or so later to the sound of “Snakebiiiiiite” whispered from the other side of the trees. Goldenrod, Crazy Lamb, 5 Fingers and Boyscout are all there!
The rest of the gang only made it as far as the first water; they got there late so they are waiting out the heat there.
I drink more and more water, borrow Atilla’s solar charger to add a bit more juice to my phone, then finally leave at 5pm. It’s still bloody hot but I have to get the miles in.
Turns out there is a water cache at Kelso road! So much beautiful water. I make dinner there as the light disappears and the wind picks up.
I see Yorkie and Atilla’s headlamps bobbing up to me, and they pass me by while I’m eating.
With my headlamp on I hike another 4 miles to 10pm. I find a flat spot off the trail in sand and pass out under best stars I’ve seen yet. Life is good.