Hours on Trail: 9
Mile Marker: 235
When the alarm went off at 5am I refused to open my eyes. Keith asked if I wanted an extra hour of sleep. I debated whether an hour of sleep was worth an hour in the heat. “Set it at 5:30” I said, rolling back to sleep. When I awoke a second time I was still quite sleepy. We rolled out of the sleeping bag and began to pack up. It was a slow start, but we were up and on the trail by 7am. We followed a river up into the hills, crossing it multiple times. Leaving the river, we headed up a ridge. By now it was about 9am and I was already dripping in sweat. But the hope of higher elevation and cooler weather urged me forward. Around 10am we stopped for second breakfast and enjoyed the view of the surrounding mountains. The one we had been traversing the past view days was aligned in between the desert ridges. Almost as if the valley we trodded through yesterday didn’t exist.
Popping up ontop of the ridge, we followed it for a good distance before dipping back down to another creek. The sound of gurgling water was beautiful, and we dropped our packs nearby. Keith has been dealing with some bloody noses due to the dry desert air, and one hit him as we sat down. So I went to get water from the creek and filtered it into our bottles. After we enjoyed the coolness of the shade for a bit, we threw our packs on and headed out. A few feet down the trail a group of people we had seen out hiking we’re gathered under a shade tree near the creek. They were just as thrilled as we had been about the relief from the sun and the cool of the water.
For the rest of the afternoon we followed the creek up into the mountains. This caused some interesting trail situations. Sometimes we were in the cool of the shade and near the creek. Other times we are on higher ridges in the bright sun looking down over the creek. The whole day was quite warm and we dipped our hats into the creek, letting the cool water drip down our heads. We lost the trail twice today. Both times were easily fixed by looking around and realizing the trail had gone up a ridge, not following the creek. We met one hiker who was confused and lost. We found the trail pretty easily and helped him on his way. A lot of trees have fallen and some brush overgrowth has forced the trail to be a bit confusing at times. Keith and I are glad we have always been able to find it quite easily, even after losing it.
At one point we realized we’ve been on the trail for two weeks. This is a slight mile marker for me, as most people say that if you can survive your initiation weeks (the first 2 weeks) you’re pretty much golden. I don’t really believe that, but I’m sure glad to have had such a fantastic two weeks. We’ve seen some fantastic views and met some pretty great people. I’ve appreciated a lot of the folks we’ve met so far. Keith and I don’t talk much and can be pretty socially awkward, but a couple of people have made some very nice, yet short conversations with us. We learned today that one deemed us the “Blue Team” and have been referring to us as such. We both like it and it fits pretty well given our attire, so it’ll probably stick.
Also a quick note about our food thus far. I’ve been loving our meals. They’re simple, give us everything we need, and are very easy to eat. I have a hard time being able to eat all that I should, but with how well our food goes down it has been much less of a problem out here. I thought by now that I would be craving pizza or a burger or something carbonated as most do. But the opposite has happened. The above listed items sound awful to my stomach and I’d rather stick to my granola, peanut butter, and water. I’m sure this will change at some point, but for now I’m very thankful for our food.
We arrived at camp around 4pm to find a ton of people in the area. Apparently a group of folks had night hiked and hung out there for the majority of the afternoon. Keith and I gathered water down the stream and then split up to find a spot. Keith found one a good ways up the trail, so we packed up and headed out for a bit. A nice flat grassy spot under a very dead tree was the choice. Given the lack of wind we doubted the tree would fall tonight and decided to go for it. This great little spot and the extra evening hours gave us some time to cut Keith’s hair. Keith brought along a little 3oz professional hair trimmer which works great. We laid out our ground cloth to catch the hair and I went to work. A few minutes later all Keith’s hair was in our garbage bag and his scalp was free. It was a fun little event for the evening.
We’re headed to bed early tonight. Yesterday’s early start and long day tired us both out, so a longer resting night sounds great. We’ve both really enjoyed the past few weeks and look forward to what the next two weeks have in store.