Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 7 : Tule Spring

Thursday April 30, 2015
22 Miles Today
139 Total Miles

Last night as I was settling in a never ending of people, smart people, began to arrive at camp 115. Instead of rushing out at the crack of dawn, I got up about when everyone else got up. Some people left before me and a few people were still there when I left. My plan today was to still get in twenty five miles. The difference was that I planned to stop during the hottest part of the day. 

Throughout the morning a number of us leap-frogged past each other. I had a chance to get to know most of their names. Most of them have trail names. They are, in no particular order, GT Cookie, Emir, Starfish, Methinks, Two-tone, Flacco, Kat, and bunch of others that I can't think of right now. 

I arrived at Mike Herrera's place around noonish where Tom and Mama were our hosts. Mama handed me a plate of biscuits and gravy and said, "use your own silverware." I didn't bring my silver so I grabbed my titanium sport which worked just as well. I went around to the north side of the house where there was a big cool concrete porch in the shade and I lay down on my back and propped my feet up on my pack until I heard they were serving tacos. Tom was cooking them fresh on the outdoor stove. Frying them up till they were crispy. They were so good I went back for seconds.

Some hikers are so much more social than I. I enjoy meeting people and talking to them face to face, but when I get on the trail you are either talking to the backpack in front of you or trying to carry on a conversation with someone behind you. So I tend to not talk much on the trail. Besides everybody walks at a different pace so you either have to walk faster than normal or slower than normal and it messes with my head.

I hung out at Mike's until three with an overly optimistic plan to get to mile140 tonight. I hiked ten miles through the desert seeing only Hawaii Jeff. The trail seemed a lot longer than ten miles when I finally arrived at Tule Spring to get more water. GT Cookie, Negra, Starfish, and Emir were already here. I contemplated just getting water, then I thought maybe I'll just have dinner, Emir said you're staying here. He was right so I am here. We are all planning on getting up at four and going to the Paradise Cafe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 6 : Camp at Mile 115

Wednesday April 29, 2015
24 Miles Today
117 Total Miles

Way too tired. Twenty-five mile days back to back is exhausting. It didn't help that I hiked during the hottest part of the day. Why did I do that? Lesson learned, no more of that. 

Starting hiking before the sun came up and made great time to barrel Spring. The terrain changed dramatically from desert to the type of California I am used to. It looks a lot like the foothills of the Sierras except for the cactuses.

Past the hundred mile mark today.

Hiked past Eagle Rock.
I don't see it
Where's the eagle?
Eagle smegol
By golly, it sort of looks like an eagle.

Warner Springs Resource Center served hot food to thru hikers until just before I got there. Apparently the county health department shut them down. Ah well, I guess I'm eating hiking food for a bit longer. 

I walked an extra mile or so in to the Post Office and back out. Yay! More food.

I also included some shaving cream and a razor. My face is as smooth as a babies butt.

After that I should have hung out and taken a nap. It was too hot and I ended up hiking slow and getting exhausted.

The trail went quickly back into the desert and it was dry, dry, dry, and hot. 

The umbrella is a life saver

Surprisingly there is a tiny stream here. I was so busy cooling off and cleaning up that I didn't take any pictures. Oops. I think the heat got to me. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 5 : Campsite at mile 93

Tuesday April 28, 2015
25 Miles Today
93 Total Miles

Two words for today: Hot, hot. I left Rodriguez Spur at five am to get ahead of the heat. It worked, sort of. The first eight miles to Sissors Crossing were relatively cool. It was the remaining seventeen that really got hot. I woke up at three-thirty and began to pack my stuff. It was payback time for all those people who stayed up so late carrying on and so. I started out with eight and a half liters of water because I didn't want to rely on water caches, since they can sometimes be empty. It took me five and a half liters to get here. This is a 'dry' camp, which means it has no water. I have to make the remaining three last until I get to Barrel Springs tomorrow in a little over eight miles. If I leave before it gets hot I'll only need a liter. 

Trail Angels had left some fresh fruit in an ice chest under the bridge at Sissors Crossing, thank you! I had a hand full of grapes and took an apple and an orange for the trail. They were all gone within the hour. I played leap frog with four other hikers cross the most desolate and barren part of the trail so far. It is 'real' desert with multiple kinds of cactus, yucca, aloe vera and all kinds of poky sticks and rocks. The trail meanders around and in and out the spurs and ravines of the Anza Borrego Desert. Utterly desolate, unforgiving, hostile to human life. I have only moved a little over eight miles from where I started even though I hiked twenty five miles. I hiked the long way around the San Felipe valley. 

This is where I started today

Even though the terrain is so harsh, it is beautiful and worth seeing. Especially from under the cover of an umbrella. I am very pleased with the umbrella I have, the BirdieLite Swing Flex. At only seven ounces its easy to carry and super durable. The wind blew it inside out a couple of times yet it just pops back into shape. 

When I stopped for lunch today I reached for my spoon and it wasn't there... Oh man... How am I going to eat? I had thoughts about whittling one out of wood but that just seemed so tedious. So I didn't eat any Nutella for lunch. Super high fat and carbs but it's too rich.  Back to the spoon... I thought about where it might be. Maybe it's with my Chapstick. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention it. I lost my Chapstick too. Wow, what's going on. Well, when I backpack I have a place for everything and everything must go back to its place when I am done with it. In the case of my spoon, it's supposed to be clipped to my pack. I remember getting up in the dark and eating breakfast. I don't remember clipping it to my pack, or do I? I don't know, but I ate in my tent... And come to think of it when I was folding my tent in the dark it seemed like it had something in it. Sure enough, when I set up my tent, Yay! There was my spoon.

Then there's my Chapstick gone from my pocket last night. I used it at night and I thought I put it back in my pocket but it wasn't there. When I removed my shirt this evening, I found it! It was somehow tucked into a tiny Chapstick sized corner. It could have fallen out anytime time during the day but it didn't. So I lost two things today and then I found them. 

Thru hiker feet

Too hot to do anything, especially when I am low on water

I thought that tonight I might be camped at a spot that no one else wanted to camp at. Perhaps it was the fact that I was camped here. A creepy old guy is camping there, let's keep going. I really am not that creepy. Anyway just before sunset two young ladies, each solo hiking the PCT stopped to camp at this spot.  Flanders and Key-Lime are their trail names. They are pleasant companions and it was fun to chat with some people. Instead of being the hermit. Tomorrow we are all planning on getting to Warner Springs where it is rumored that they serve scrambled eggs and or burgers to thru hikers, depending on who you talk to. I will also be getting my resupply box from the Post Office too.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 4 : Rodriguez Spur fire tank

Monday April 27, 2015
26 Miles Today
68 Total Miles

After twenty six grueling miles the desert has arrived. Just in time for some hot weather. I spent the morning traversing across the ridge from Mt Laguna north. After what seemed to be about twenty miles the trail turns east and begins to head down, down, down. While on the ridge the temperature hovered around sixty five with a stiff cool breeze. That changed dramatically as the descent continued. It wasn't long until the temperature was close to Lincoln summertime temperatures. I pulled out my umbrella and attached it as I had practiced and whamo! The temperature dropped about ten degrees. What an aweome invention. 

I am camped here with at least fifty people. Spread out in the bushes in all directions. It's difficult to find a place to use for the bathroom because as soon as you think you've found a spot someone pops out of the bushes and says 'hi'. 

The water coming from the tank here is cool and clear but still needs to be treated. I started the day with six and one half liters. I arrived with one and a half left. So it took five liters for twenty six miles. Tomorrow promises to be hotter so I expect that I'll use more water. My goal is twenty five miles so I am going to load on two more liters. I am planning on dry camping tomorrow night and then I'll have nine miles to go to the next water at Barrel Spring. I am planning on leaving as early as I can in the morning. Preferably before it gets light. People are talking and talking around me. I might need to take another Advil PM so I can sleep.