When the Sun Don’t Shine

Day 18

Mileage: 36.4
Total distance: 554

Camp tonight is on a ridge looking down a valley with some windmills behind me. They have this strange whooshing sound they are constantly making and I think it will be like white noise to help me sleep. Or I’ll think a plane is going overhead at all times. The moon is shining bright as a crescent tonight and the sunset was aboalutely spectacular. Everything was drenched in gold followed by pink. My skin looked alien and the plants around me were magical. A hawk flew over me just as I was about to set up to sleep to end a perfectly long day. 


I woke up at 4:45 to my alarm in a breezeway in one of the strange houses of hikertown. I considered going back to sleep and hiking the aqueduct in the heat, but then I saw the sunrise and was motivated to get out there. The sunrise expanded across the entire field before me and the brightest pinks were stretching across the sky. It was very special. 


The walk along the aqueduct was boring to say the least. Flat. Hot. Lonely. At one point early on my stomach started making weird sounds like bacon sizzling and I thought I was going to puke, but after 30 minutes it relaxes and I realized it was the excedrin I took on an empty stomach. A lot of hikers have been sick in this area and I did go into a borderline panic thinking about being stranded in the desert heat, vommiting and shitting everywhere. 


I go 18 miles done by 10:30 and knew I would need a nap today but decided to push on for 8 more miles to a creek where hopefully there would be shade and water. The hike there was gradually uphill on a hard dirt road and of course I got lost with all of the switching around those windmill roads do and got irritated yet again. Tons of sheep appeared out no where and I still have no idea why they were there. Sheep are hilarious creatures. 

I got to the water around 1:45 and there were tons of hikers hiding under shelters and sleeping or reading to wait out the heat for the 14 mile waterless stretch before us. Along with a 2,000 foot climb. I got my water and laid down a second to relax and that was all I remember. I must have passed out immediately, but an hour later I woke up and went back at it. 


The climb was brutal with soft sand that pulls you back and the heat was dominating the left side of my face. Sweat was dripping like it was raining on me and my calves were cramping up repeatedly. This was mile 30 for the day so I had already spent a lot of energy and climbing up that hill was a little too much, but magic came at the top where I met a man named Daniel who seems to be an old dead head wearing a John Lennon shirt and red tinted glasses. He had long grey, curly hair and a scruffy beard. Super sweet guy. He gave me a beer and some fruit and after some other hikers showed up I carried on to make it as far as I could before dark to get to Molly asap in the morning. 


The rest of the day was downhill and after seeing a million rabbits and some deer and a couple of hawks I was in wonderland when the sun went down. The temperature dropped and it felt like it did this morning and the colors were breath taking. These two times of the day are easily my favorite, but I have to say knowing that I’m about to sleep and not hike is much more exciting. 12 miles to my lady. So. Stoked. 

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