Today was down, down, down, all day long. There was no shade after the first mile or two and as it got lower, it got hotter, over 100 degrees. The only goal was to get to the water faucet fifteen miles from where I’d dry camped. I’d picked up six liters at the last water source yesterday, and I had four left to get down the mountain.
I used my umbrella a fair amount, but it was often too windy for it. The trail was not the best today, falling off in places or petering out through the scrub brush. It was almost all switchbacks but I finally found a flat area around lunchtime to take a break in, except there was no shade. I laid down with my head under a bush and my umbrella covering most of the rest of me, but it was so hot, it wasn’t very restful, and I soon moved on.
I drank as much as I wanted, and went dry about two miles before the water faucet. It was easy hiking at that point though, so I made it down still fairly well hydrated.
The water faucet was a joke. Everyone is so thirsty when they get there, and then it’s like a game to see if you can actually fill your bottles up. It was like a water fountain in that the water shot up into the air, and in that the pressure varied randomly. Add in the wind, and you had to be moving your bottle all over to keep it under the stream.
After fighting to get water, there was one rock that everyone tried to cram underneath to get into the one foot of shade it was casting. The peaks I was on yesterday in the background were covered in snow, and it was over 100 degrees where I was very uncomfortably sitting.
From there it looked like just a few flat, easy miles to the road. Flat, yes. Easy, no. It was all loose sand and high winds so it was definitely trudging. This was in a valley where I could not even count the number of windmills around, there were so many.
Under the interstate overpass, a trail angel named DNA had some coolers of ice cold beers and iced tea. The tea was very welcome as the water in my bottles was now hot and gross.
I hung out there briefly and then walked up to the next road to get picked up by my second cousin Carson who lives nearby. Then it was back to his place for dinner, shower, laundry, and gear repair.
One of the snaps on my Enlightened Equipment quilt kept coming apart, so they sent me new snaps and the pliers to put them on, and a prepaid label to ship the pliers back. Awesome service!
I also got new Vasque shoes and Superfeet insoles! I’d started in some that still had a couple hundred miles of life left in them, but that meant I was breaking my feet in in more worn out stuff. I’m hoping my feet will be less sore with the new cushioning.
19.2 miles today.