Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 35- Snow and Ice for the Start of Summer

Cow pasture at mile 593 to Mile 617

It snowed a little bit just before dark-not a cowboy camping kind of a night.  My tent pole fell down twice in the night because of wind.  I stayed warm and slept pretty well even in the bad conditions.  I stayed in my bag for awhile in the morning.  I was kind of hoping that the weather would improve if I delayed getting up by an hour.  It was not to be, but at least it was snowing anymore.

There was no snow, but there were chunks of ice falling from the tree branches.  It was cold-hat, mittens, jacket kind of day.  The trail was mostly treed in, but that just meant more ice was there to fall on me.  It was beautiful trail, but I was moving too fast to enjoy it.  The trail did seem to be done with the wind farms, thankfully.

Again the trail merged with a woods road.  It seemed like the road was going to be mostly up, so I took off my rain jacket.  This was probably the fifth time I took off a layer knowing it wouldn't be long until I wanted it back on.  Shortly after that I met some day hikers and remembered that it was a holiday weekend.  Snow and ice for the unofficial start of summer.  I chatted with the day hikers for a bit-answered the usual questions about start date and miles per day-all the while hoping they would ask what every thru-hiker likes to here:  I have some extra food, would you like...?  I was hoping fruit-I was still day dreaming about the banana I had the other day.  Sadly we parted ways without any mention of fruit.

I continued up thinking about fruit and how long until the next water.  Turns out I hit water just at lunch time and my thoughts turned from fruit to cheese and summer sausage.  Robin Bird Spring was 100 yards off trail just a couple miles over 600 miles done.  The spring was flowing well inside a fenced off area-lots of cow patties outside the fence.  I filled up and treated two liters and got down to the business of lunch.

It was too cold to linger over my meal.  I didn't even take my shoes off.  I ate, checked the water report on my phone, and decided I needed another liter of water to get me to the next water cashe.  Then it was time to go, and for once I was hoping for an uphill to rewarm.  And I got my wish.  At the top of the short uphill I stopped and finished my cookies that were supposed to be part of lunch.

I wasn't feeling motivated after lunch at all.  The trail traveled through a pine forest that was studded with boulders the size of a dog house to the size of small houses.  It was easy walking, and had a quiet earthiness about the area, but I still wasn't feeling it.  And then the sun came out.  The miles started to roll by again and I started to feel warm for the first time in a couple of days.  I took an afternoon snack break in the sun-I even took off my hat and mittens.  Only to put the mittens back on when the sun ducked behind some clouds and it wasn't warm any more.

After awhile the trail left the pines and climbed up into a burn area.  It was actually very pretty-more boulders, dead trees bleached white, thousands of purple flowers all with a blue sky backdrop.  At the crest I was close to my end goal for the day-just had to go down a few miles.

And down.  And down.  And down some more.  There was no camping to be had as the trail dropped back to the desert.  Dinner time came and went with nothing more than a handful of sunflower seeds.  It became clear I was going to the road where the water was cashed.  Once I excepted that, the mileage wasn't so bad.
I took two liters and walked on.   Surprisingly there wasn't camping at the road-at least none that I saw.  It was past seven, pack was heavy with water, and I was walking on fumes.  It seems so unlikely that a flat spot six feet long by three wide would be so hard to find, but that's the truth.  Finally, after about a mile, I saw a spot for me on this little spit of land that jutted out over the valley.  With my trekking pole I flipped away a very dry cow pie and set up my cowboy camp.


  1. Waiting for photos of the rabbits, boulders and purple flowers. So impressed by the trail angels who leave food for you!

  2. Beverly AndersonMay 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    You have had all kinds of weather. Hope you have warmed up. Nice to have people help you all along the way.