Day 60 - Undulations - June 4

The desert sun peeked over the horizon, shining it's rays through the thin fabric of our tent. Too soon, sun. Rolling over does not help. Might as well hike. My lower back was bothering me this morning. It hasn't hurt since the few three weeks. I did some yoga which seemed to help. Ian's leg was bothering him so he took some ibuprofen. While we were getting ready to go, Lobster walked by.

We're cowboy camping!
It was fairly flat up and down walking, but the trail had all these small undulations that were rough on Ian's knees and my back. I realized that I was leaning forward and then back with each undulation. I think doing that last night must have been what bothered my back. After the road was a water cache with some emergency supplies like toilet paper, duct tape and some batteries to charge devices. There was also a cooler with snacks! I grabbed a Pop Tart. Yum. We both drank some water there and grabbed 1 liter from the cache. It had the capacity to have 75 gallons of water, but only about 62 gallons were full. These water caches are put here by trail angels for people that need it. Hikers are not supposed to count on this water being here. You carry enough to get you to the next water source and only take a little from the cache. I've seen a couple small caches that were empty after large groups came through, it can happen quickly even to large caches.

Yellow flowers along the trail.
After that break, there was a 3 mile climb that went up 1,800 feet. Hard when you're tired and loaded down with water. We just kept moving, only taking one break on the hill. The environment is changing quickly as we climb, there are more scrub oak and pine trees, but they are small so far. We are getting back above treeline! In the desert, there is a treeline below which trees do not grow. Except for Joshua trees, those strange things love the desert.

We take another break at the top under medium sized scrub oak trees, it's a little early for our lunch break but at least we're up high again and the breezes are nice. So we took our lunch break there, and I'm glad we did because we had the best shade around and no ticks bit me. A few people passed by on the trail while we ate and napped. It wasn't very hot up there, so we left around 3:30 to finish the rest of the hike to water.

We continued to Mcivers Spring, the next water source. The trail wound through pine and scrub oak forest. We stopped for dinner in some shade, Ian didn't have much water left, so we used mine to cook. I don't sweat much, so I don't need as much water. Ian turns into a salt lick. He had 7 liters for that 23 mile water carry, added 1 liter at the cache and he ran out 1/2 mile from the spring. I had five liters, added 1 at the cache, used it to cook dinner and still had 1.5 liter left at the end. I probably would have drunk more if that part of the trail was in full sun or if it was hotter. I'm so glad those springs were running. When Willow Spring and McIvers Spring​ dry up later, it's a 43 mile water carry! Good luck, south bounders!

The trail to the spring was a gradual up and down, on one side of a ridge mostly. Then the trail joined a dirt road for 2 miles. I don't like walking on roads. The surface is often rougher than the trail, undulating up and down. It's usually either packed hard dirt or sand that you're walking on. The shade went away, but the shadows were long and the day was cooling into night. The sun set, and like I told Ian yesterday, when there's no clouds in the dry desert, the sunsets all look the same. They're lovely, but there's less drama than when you have clouds. The only thing that changes is the landscape. The sky does a gradual fade from blue to pink-orange at the horizon. You'll never see a sunset like that back east.

Rock formations

We reached the spring in the dark. A thru hiker was hammocking in the trees by the cabin and pointed us towards the spring. We got a few liters and set up our cowboy camp. This is the last time I'm cowboy camping. The desert ends soon, and the Sierras start. It's too moist ahead to do any cowboy camping. I'm going to miss the desert. I enjoyed Southern California, all the variety in the landscape and the little surprises. I've heard some thru-hikers cursing the desert but I just don't agree. We've had it easy. The desert was only above 90 for a few days and all the springs are running. I expected to bake more in the sun. The hardest part is just getting your tired ass up every day and moving. Day after day.


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