I had a 4am alarm set for this morning again. I drank a liter of water with first breakfast to camel up for the long haul and got started hiking in the dark. It was at least a 28 mile stretch to water, possibly 42, so I took seven liters, my full water carrying capacity.
Willow Spring is 11 miles in but it’s way off trail, and went dry recently in any case. The 28 mile mark I’ll hit tomorrow, Yellow Jacket Spring, is a seep that is also off trail, hasn’t seen this kind of traffic before, and I don’t consider to be reliable. I was hoping for some water caches at road crossings for bonus water.
I actually did pass a large cache very early on before I needed it. Then I realized the trail was going to contain no shade and wished I’d drank a liter there.
It was so hot and exposed, I stopped for siesta at the first tree that had levelish space under it. Three of us crowded in and used umbrellas and strung up a tarp as the sun moved the shade around, but we ended up still leaving a bit earlier than normal.
I had heard there’d be a cache at the next road and there were a couple jugs of water so I cooked dinner and drank a liter. There I heard that the real cache was at the next road. When I arrived at the next road, there were just a couple jugs again, and again I was told the real cache was coming up. I found out that some hikers had hired a trail angel to slackpack them throughout this section and meet them with water so that’s where the random jugs were coming from.
It was too hot out and I couldn’t eat most of my dinner so I felt sluggish, but I was apparently going almost 3mph again. As the air cooled down even more and the wind picked up, I started feeling great. Then the trail turned to deep sand through a strong headwind over tiny PUDs (pointless ups and downs). Thanks, desert!
I got into camp at Bird Spring Pass just before dark and found a large cache there. I was able to grab two liters so I don’t have to go off trail to the seep in the morning. It’s pretty windy, which I hope means the weather will be cooler tomorrow. 22 miles today.