Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 28- Going to Casa de Luna

The Saufley's at mile 454 to Casa de Luna at mile 478

It wasn't easy getting up at 5:15 this morning, but I managed.  It was cool enough out and it was only going to get hotter.  That more than anything got me up and going.

The day's hike started off with a two mile road walk through town.  Road walks are a lame way to start the day, but it's better than having a road walk in the middle of the day.  I saw some hikers walking the road the day before around 11 and the 3 guys had soaked their freshly laundered clothing with sweat-clean doesn't last long when backpacking.

I had 4.5 liters of water on my back for this hot, dry, and exposed section-I think the guide book has said that about every section since leaving the San Jacinto Mountain area back before mile 200.   The water report listed one spring that was 9 miles into the day as very sulfur tasting and barely flowing.  Right after the road walking the trail went up-for miles-and I started to regret being a water snob.

For six miles the trail slowly went up giving me views of where I came from and where I was going.  About a mile from the top the trail went throw wild straw as tall as I am.  I heard a noise I couldn't place, but something was moving down the trail towards me.  It was a group on bikes and I brought them all to a halt-the trail isn't even two feet wide.  I slowly lumbered my way pass them and continued my slow way up the hill.

On the other side of the mountain I stopped for snack and a map check.  And then it was onward and downward.  I passed the spring with a pack still heavy with water.  At the bottom of the mountain was a road and a water cashe put out by the Anderson's-their house was my goal for the night.  I drank half a liter, replaced it, then onward.

Again the trail slowly snaked its way up the ridge.  I could see a hiker in front of me and one behind me and both had out their Chrome Domes.  It was noon and I was going uphill.  I really felt like I was melting. Out came my Dome and I enjoyed its shade for the next 12 miles.

Around 2 I started looking for a good shady spot for lunch.  I wasn't liking the ones I was finding-nothing flat and full of poison oak.  I could see a tree in the distance and I got the feeling that was going to be my spot-and it sure was.

I heard voices first and then a pink plastic flamingo stood watch over the Oasis cashe.  Lawn chairs, coolers, jugs of water and cool shade.  I grabbed a cold beer and a chair and joined the others for a break.  I had my shoes off, lunch, and a couple of sodas.  We wondered how long we'd have to stay there until somebody came to resupply the cashe and if we couldn't all stay until then.

At 3:15 I left to finish the last 7 miles of the day.  I still had my Dome out-it was 90 in the shade of the Oasis and much hotter away from it.  These miles went slow.  it kept giving me the weird feeling that I was in a old cartoon where the character is walking and the background is being looped behind him-I felt like I was seeing the same thing again and again.

When I was in Wrightwood I mailed a new pair of shoes to Kennedy Meadows at mile 700.  The shoes I had seemed to be doing well, feeling good.  I've slipped four times since then-two of those ending in a fall.  I slipped in the sandy trail and pitch forward, barely avoiding a face plant.  I was very happy to be wearing pants-my knee stung, but was unharmed.  I seem to have lost on my shoe gamble.

The trail went over one more ridge, then down to the road.  I could see a van in the ranger station parking lot and I knew that was my ride to Casa de Luna.  I tried to pick up my pace-without slipping-and hustle the last mile.  And made it just in time.

When the van pulled up to Casa de Luna the hikers already there started to clap and whistle.  We unload, we're given a tour, and then it was time to mingle.  I had left my group asleep at the Saulfly's so it was a whole new group of people.  I was given more trail names than I can possibly remember.

Dinner was served at sunset-taco salad.  I had two huge plates, and was actually the last one done eating.  Lunch on the trail I can hardly manage, dinner I like.  For dessert-hot from the oven cookies.

The tenting area is in what everybody calls Narnia.  Beyond the backyard there is a tangle of maneneda trees with tenting spots under them.  Back here I can't hear the people in the front yard-it is like being in a different world.

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