mile 511 to mile 535
At least the day started well. I really enjoyed the first 6 miles which were on single tract trail. These were miles that we could have skipped if we'd have taken the other alternate for the Powerhouse fire detour, so I was really glad we hadn't missed them.
Gorgeous sunrise. The Mojave spread out before us, the next mountain range rising up in the distance. I'd been dreading crossing the hot, exposed, windy Mojave, but at least those next mountains in the distance reminded me that the flat land would only be temporary. That I would get through it and be in the mountains again soon.
We took a mid-morning stop at Hiker Town. What a strange place. It gave me the creeps. But they drove us down the road for snacks and I split another pint of ice cream with Kimchi. Yay!
It was cool (and windy) today, so I decided not to wait until evening to cross the Mojave. My friends stayed in Hikertown while I set out alone. I hadn't anticipated all the roadwalking. I was running low on exuberance and happiness. I started kicking myself for heading out before everyone else- I wanted extra time to make it to the next water source where were are camped. But that meant I hiked without the benefit of the camaraderie of our group. Normally I like hiking alone, but today it was a struggle. I tried tricks to cheer myself up- gazing up at the mountains ahead, looking at all the Joshua trees, noticing the butterflies, watching the windmills, singing to myself. Still the miles on the road felt hard. I wanted to be in the mountains, not walking along a flat road. My feet hurt and I got a weird rash or chafe (heat rash?) that was driving me crazy.
|Getting ice cream.|
Finally found cell phone service and called my parents. It was so good to talk to them! Mom sounded really good and optimistic- she has decided to start radiation treatment and likes her doctors and I was so glad to hear the updates. Cheered me up considerably. Also they went through the stuff they are sending me at Kennedy Meadows for starting the Sierra. They told me they got me some new socks, a replacement water bottle, and lots of new snacks- yay! Thanks for being so supportive Mom and Dad!
The hike was even more windy in the afternoon. Strong gusts blew everything not tied or weighted down away. My umbrella got blown inside out a few times, and the walking was hard since I was constantly knocked around by the force of the gusts. There were windmills all around.
At Cottonwood Bridge, the water faucet was NOT on, though the water report says it is. I only had one liter of water, so I took a little from the water cache in a 55 gallon barrel under the bridge. Could probably have made it on the one liter, but would have been pretty uncomfortable. Finally am resigned to using caches in emergencies or as extra bonuses, but certainly don't plan on them having any water. Therefore, I still carry too much water most of the time, but am glad because I stay well hydrated and feeling good.
I hope I don't regret this but I am hanging in my hammock on a cottonwood branch right near where the others are camped. Didn't want to bother hiking down the wash to a more sheltered spot and I liked hanging out with Kimchi, Jolly, Ninja Tank, and MeToo in camp. One thing that sucks about hammocking is that I rarely camp near anyone else. The others camp next to one another and get to talk into the evening. Sometimes I feel like I miss out on the slumber parties. And I don't have the benefit of hearing the others wake up if I want to hike with them. Other times I like the excuse to camp alone when I want the solitude and a quiet, deeper sleep. It's all about the tradeoffs.
Tonight, I'm suspended from a big branch of a cottonwood- my first one-tree hang so I'm proud I get to try something new. It's more windy and exposed than I'd like, but I am so tired I think I'll be able to sleep.