Day 6 - High Desert

The wind picked up in the night, hitting my tent and making it flap noisily in the breeze.  I got out and tightened it as best I could, but the bushes around limited where I could put the stakes which made it a looser pitch..  The morning sun started peeking through the tent and I woke up to a spectacular sunrise.  Best sunrise yet, and I had a panoramic view right outside my tent!

Jon and Rick were packing up quickly to make Scissors Crossing and go into Julian today.  It's 21 miles away, too far for me to go at this point.  I had thought about and decided I didn't really feel like going back into town yet.  I had enough food for Warner Springs, so why make the detour?

I packed up and set out for the day by myself, not really sure how far I was gonna go, when or where I was gonna stop.   I just knew there was water in a mile, down in Oriflamme Canyon.  It was a beautiful cool morning with wispy clouds.  I passed Cliff Walker and Stakes taking down their tent and said hello.

Oriflamme Canyon had a nice little flow and clear water.  I got a couple liters to get me to the next source, walked a little

It was easy walking, a little down, a little up, looking down on desert.  There was another water source in a few miles, a short way from the trail, across a road.  There was a trail magic there, a guy from Kennedy Meadows named Tom, I had a little coffee and a slice of cantaloupe.  Yum.  The water source was this huge tank of water sitting in the sun that looked gross.  Green with little bugs in it.  It was a good 7 miles to the next, and I was down to 1 liter, not enough.  I was wishing I had filled up in that beautiful canyon stream.  I tried to use my bandana as a prefilter to keep the scum out, but the weave is too tight.  Great.  I filled up, then I realized there was a faucet on the tank leading from a cistern.  Forehead smack!  Yes, it's still standing water that needs to be treated, but it's clear!

Walking on, I ran into Tameka and Dawn from Australia taking a break.  I stopped to talk briefly, but I didn't need another break.  Onward!  The trail wound it's way around the mountainside.  I'd get views ahead of dry peaks with sparser vegetation.  The day had warmed up quickly, so I put up my umbrella.  Aaah, portable shade.

I just kept walking, just enjoying the mountain, the sound of the wind and the ever changing scene around each bend.  I started to see cacti, and they were blooming!  I may have just missed the peak of the superbloom, but it's still a great year for flowers.

The trail met up with a road, turning right and then quickly left off the trail.  I saw three people behind me, but I wasn't sure who.  I was ready for a break, but I wanted a shady spot, which took a while to get to.  There was a bend in the trail with shade for one, so I stopped and had my lunch.  It wasn't long before Brandon, Cliff Walker and Stakes came walking by.  They asked me if I was going into Julian and they were really talking up the free pie, hiker friendly town and maybe even free beer.  They said not to miss an opportunity to go into a hiker friendly town.  I figured as former AT thru hikers they're probably right.  I would probably regret it.  Screw the plan, I'll check out Julian.  Just like any of my running training plans, the PCT plan is considered written in pencil, subject to change with current conditions.

After my break, I walked for a while before I came across Brandon, Cliff Walker, Stakes and Rambles hanging out at a water source.  It was a rainwater cistern hooked up to a faucet, which had notes to treat it before drinking.  I hung out with them for a while at that spot, and the five of us left at the same time.  Rambles is from San Diego and he pointed out some plants, like yucca and sage.  At one point, I heard this loud buzzing and Rambles pointed out a swarm of Africanized honey bees buzzing through the valley next to us, but they were so quick I missed them.  Crazy!  Apparently they travel together from the hive to the flowers and if you taunt them, they will attack you as a swarm.  Why or how one taunts a swarm of bees is beyond me.

We reached a campsite around mile 71, with a good overlook to the west.  Brandon kept walking, but the rest of us found sites.  Mine is nice and far away from everyone else, the way I like it.  A tent with a view, too.  I'm up the hill from everyone else, but I went down to have dinner, socialize and watch the sunset.  Malin from Sweden, Mary Jo and Matthew were there.  They seem to be a tight little group of friends already, it's real cute.


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