Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 34- Storm's Coming

Mile 570 to cow pasture at mile 593

I think I might be caught up on sleep now.  I didn't wake up when Alice and Steve's friends came into camp and I woke up just after five feeling rested.  And cold.  I delayed getting up until six, but I was out of camp just before seven.

Shortly after leaving camp I saw a huge desert rabbit with comically huge ears.  It was bigger than any house cat.  It scampered away just as soon as I saw it.  Moments later I saw another one with slightly smaller ears.  That one sat still long enough for me to get some photos of it-which was very nice of it.

The higher up I went the more the wind felt like yesterday's wind.  I didn't even hike for an hour before taking refuge behind a juniper shrub to eat breakfast and add a layer of clothing.  The trail kept following the ridge up and most of the way the ridge itself gave me some protection from the wind, but the trail crested out at one point-there was about 20 feet of trail where the trail was on the very spine of the ridge.  I could hear the wind howling there while I stood just a few steps back trying to steal myself.  As soon as I stepped out into the exposed area I was blown 10 feet off trail and had to fight to not go further.  Shoving back against the wind I got back on trail and back to the semi-protection of the ridge.

I stopped for a snack break just before 9 and again just before 10.  I had eaten every hour I had been hiking.  I think the cold and the energy sapping wind was giving me a thru-hiker's hunger.

The trail dipped into some trees and the wind vanished.  I thought I had been happy to see trees in the desert-that was nothing compared to the last couple of windy days.  The trail stayed in the trees for the most part as it followed an old forest road for a few miles.  It made for easy walking being on an old road.

It was a wildlife kind of day.  First the rabbits and I after the trail left the old road I saw a deer-or I saw some animal that was tan, deer sized, and jumps when it ran away from me.  Pretty sure it was a deer.  The first one I've seen on this hike.  This trail hasn't had much in the way of wildlife yet.

For lunch I made it to the Golden Oaks Spring-a nasty trough full of murky water with things floating in it.  There was a pipe on the side that had water flowing out of it.  When I filled my bottle it looked mostly clean.  There was some debate among the hikers taking lunch break there if the water from the pipe was coming out of the trough.  No conclusion was reached.  I treated it, and it tasted pretty good.

I took enough water to dry camp.  The next water was eighteen miles away.  The trail was nice-even if it was kind of cold.  I wore my mittens for most of the afternoon.

The trail went by more wind farms.  The wind was nothing like it was even that morning.  There had been some clouds hanging over the ridges that I had come from all morning.  They had slowly drifted towards the ridge I was hiking on.  In town we had gotten a word of caution about a storm-wind, cold, and rain.

Around five when I was at the last high point of the day the clouds reached where I was hiking.  I thought at first I was seeing pollen float past.  I stopped, watched the sky for a moment thinking I couldn't be seeing snow, and then a flake landed on my lip.  Snow indeed.  It didn't last long, and it wasn't more than a couple dozen flakes of snow, but it was snow.

I didn't really have a place in mind to camp as long as it was more than twenty miles from where I slept the night before.  I was hoping to find a spot that was out of the wind, flat spots, and at a low elevation.  I was hiking along and saw a tree with a grassy patch around it.  It just looked like home for the night.  And so it was.

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