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.