Saturday, May 05, 2012

Day 14- 15 Miles to the Desert Floor

Miles 109 to 210
I guess I was more tired than I thought.  I hardly woke up during the night and slept in until 6:45.  When I looked out of my tent I didn't see any others and I thought I was the last one in camp.  Turns out I just couldn't see the other tents and a lot of people had slept in.

It was probably the wrong morning to get a late start.  The day's trail was 15 miles of downhill to the hot desert.  A couple hours in and there was nothing to make shade and by 11 a.m. the sun was beaming down on me.  There was no shade for breaks so I ate two breakfast bars standing with my pack by my feet.
For the whole 15 miles I could see other hikers on switchbacks below me.  They would look so close but it would take me a half hour to get where they were the trail had so many twist to it.  On the map I carry it says as the crow flies it is 4.5 miles from Fuller Ridge to the desert floor.  It took the trail 15 so it didn't really even feel like descending.

About a mile from the bottom I saw hikers clustered around the drinking fountain (there's a drinking fountain at the end of the 15 miles that is there mostly for the hikers).  I could make out Tommy and Rattle Bee by their clothing and two others I could only guess at and I was able to watch from the hillside as they put up a tarp for shade.

They had the tarp mostly set up by the time I got there.  The tarp belonged to Power Nap and Speed Bump was the other hiker I saw from the hill.  I grabbed some water, my food from my pack, and my pack joined the other packs in hold up the poles that held up the tarp.  I took a set in the shade and what a difference in temperature.  We had temperature readings from 95 degrees in the shade to 137 degrees baking in the sun.  It didn't really matter the temp it was too hot to go out.

More hikers showed up, and we squeezed them in.  At 3:30 there were 7 of us hiding out.  Shortly after that it was time to move on.  It was still blazing hot, but there was six more miles to hike for the day with possible trail magic five miles away and trail angels at day's end.

The trail followed a road for a mile or so.  I used my Chrom Dom as my personal shade bubble.  At the end of the road I met up with Loyd who is doing support for his daughter and granddaughter (who is only 7) as they hike to Canada.  I had met him a couple of times, and he gave me a much appreciated can of cold apricot nectar.  We chatted for a bit, then on I went.
Angry rattle snake

Trail Magic and a break
Just before the interstate underpass there was a very angry rattle snake.  It shook its tail at us and puffed.  It was an impressive snake.  We left it and joined the other hikers under the bridge drinking cold Highlife beers.  I had two and an orange while enjoying a shoe off break, then one more mile.

If only there was a foot soak every night.
Ziggy and the Bear have set up a hiker heaven in the desert.  Almost as soon as I got there I had my feet soaking in a hot Epson salt bath and had salad served to me and had my two boxes delivered.  There was a large crowd of hikers soaking feet and munching salad and just relaxing.  It was a real nice way t9 end the day.  It's later now than I'd like it to be and people are still up hanging out-that's the only downside to places like this, but it's worth it.

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