Total distance: 91.2
Camp tonight is between two peaks on a ridge line running north. There is another dude down the way talking to someone on skype and when I passed by said, “waddup brah”. The sun set about an hour ago and the Stars have made an appearance for their nightly performance. Unfortunately my camp spot doesn’t have a sunset view, once again, but I will find out how to make that happen as much as possible. It looked like it was gorgeous tonight. Clouds are rolling in off the mountains opposite of mine and crawling down the sides. The wind has died down and the crickets are going to lull me to sleep.
I woke up at 7 am and was exhausted. My eyes barely opened and my left leg ached beyond reason. I knew today wasn’t going to be a very long day so I laid there for a while, but my bladder was not cooperating. So, I just unzipped my bag and peed from my pad and threw sand over it. I sighed deeply and closed my eyes, but my mind was ready to go. After about a thirty minute battle I succumbed to the call and forced myself up with a deep, deep groan. I picked my things up, stretched, tipped my hat to the water tank for my five liters and took off.
I left around 8:30 ish and immediately began descending down into the desert, but the way these trails work is that they scale along the side of the mountain rather than following the ridge, which makes the hiking so chill. Even though my left hamstring was screaming on every uphill, I couldn’t feel a thing going downhill or on level ground. The trail runs parallel to another chain of mountains off to the north and I knew at some point today I would be climbing up the monsters that towered over the desert.
The trail drops you off in a straight away facing right at the mountain to the north and the sun just beats down on you without any mercy. Also, any cloud in sight just evaporates once it gets over the ridge and overhangs the desert floor so there is no hope for relief. My calves took a beating even though I applied sunscreen like it was my job and my face was once again met with that dumb ass wind from the west. I was unable to use my umbrella.
I walked through the fire for about three miles and got to a road with a sign that promised showers and laundry for five dollars down the four mile road. I knew I would be going into town tomorrow so it wasn’t too appealing, but I only had two liters left and fifteen miles to go, with the climb up the new mountain, to a spot with possible water. I was conflicted on just chancing it or waiting it out for a hitch into town. I had no desire to walk the four miles, but cars were far and few between and everyone that came passed was a Lexus or Mercedes so there’s that. I decided to press on with my few liters, but immediately regretted my decision and turned back to eat lunch under a tree and wait for a car to come by. After about 20 minutes this rachet looking olds mobile came rolling down the street and immediately pulled over and my heart stopped with joy. In the car was an old woman named Kate who had some white hair left on her head and a belly that held her side down to tilt the car. She was insanely kind and I love her. In the drivers side was her husband Keith who was a soft spoken man with gnarly glasses, an American flag on his sleeve and a brace on his right hand. On the drive down to the rv park Kate asked me if I just wanted to get water from their place and of course I said yes. I got out of the car and was greeted by five dogs with massive balls and a girl dog with saggy tits. Ohhhhhhhh whose the baby daddy??? My money is on deputy. That dog is a boss. I went to fill my liters in the hose and Kate insisted I lay in the hammock under her pine trees she planted and relax a little. I looked at her car and all five doges were in the back seat where my pack was and fighting over something. Dammit. My food is going to be gone. Luckily, they were only chillin in there as it seemed to be their custom due to Kate’s dismal of the conflict. While Kate is filling my water she yells out to Keith, “baby fire up the grill” and he responds, “babe we already got some hiker left in the fridge”.
After a minute this beautiful, old and busted up Toyota comes whipping in the drive way and driving the car is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. He had skin the color of a Cougars hide and long grey hair pulled back in a pony tail with a thick, trimmed beard. He had four front teeth missing and an unlit, half smoked cigarette resting in the left corner of his mouth. His eyes were ice blue and his attitude was joyful and playful like a young wobbly pup. His name was Rick. He started talking to Keith about riding atvs tomorrow and getting drunk, but they could find a designated driver. So Kate offered to strap herself down on the hood and drive them back when she needed too. I love Kate. Rick noticed Keith’s hand and asked what happened but Kate answered, “I told hem to punch me in the guht with all he got and he done broke his hand”. Isn’t she the best. Come to find out Keith missed a nail and whacked his finger and possibly broke it. Who knows if it’ll get checked out.
Finally it was time to leave and deputy and Jacob were going to ride with us. Deputy insisted on sitting in my lap. As soon as we were about to take off, Kate tries starting the car but nothing happens. Keith takes a look under the hood for literally five seconds and asks Rick if he’ll drive me. I’m praying he says yes. I look to Rick and he is lighting the most epic joint I have ever laid eyes on in my life. Rick says, “huh?”. After asking him again he agrees to take me and spends about five minutes cleaning empty beer cans out of the passenger side. The door doesn’t open so I have to get in through Rick’s side and we take off.
- Some sweet rattlesnake skin.
On the drive back, Rick begins explaining to me how much he hates people who fill up helium balloons and let them go. “Every one of them damn things ends up right here in this desert. You wouldn’t believe how many damn balloons I’ve found just walking to get the mail.” I laugh hard and repent for all the balloons I’ve let go. Rick doesn’t respond. I leave Rick with a knuckle pound, his choice, and begin my walk up the mountain. It’s around 3 pm.
Things go well until around 6:30 and my energy tanks again. The walk had been beautiful and I rested a lot to drink my five liters of water and once sat right on a baby cactus and spent twenty minutes trying to pull the tiny needles out of my ass. They are still in there and I’m pissed. The sun begins to get low in the sky and the colors are just extraordinary. The shade from the mountain creeps along the desert floor and slowly swallows up the valley. By the time I got to camp I was beyond exhausted and sat for five minutes before doing any nightly chores. Finally I set up my shelter and made dinner and slowly began to feel better. My left leg is still jacked up, but tomorrow is chill. Hopefully this nights sleep restores my body to make the 19 miles to Warner springs. A moth is flying in my face due to the light from my screen and I’m getting pissed.
- The baby cactus that got my butt.
Thought of the day:
I wonder if any helium balloons I’ve let go have made it to Rick’s desert.