The tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version. We carried lots of water. Warm, but not hot. Handling wildlife and trying not to fly.
Our day, like most, began with a climb. Luckily it wasn’t hot, as it was on the west side of the hill and it was early morning.
A few miles in and we git our last water source for a long while. Either 25 miles if things went well or 35 miles if not. We rolled the dice and loaded up for the 25 mile haul.
Our packs were quite heavy, but it was downhill for the next 10 miles. Except for the uphills. Of which there were many.
We even had to slow down because this little guy wouldn’t give way on the trail. He’d run several steps, then look to see if I was following. I’d step forward and we’d go through it again. So I decided that Jen should get a closer look.
Meet Mr. Horny Toad.
I’ve share more pics from the day, but there aren’t many. We were under quite a load and it got hotter as we descended into the valley towards Scissors Crossing, our destination.
When we got there, a trail angel had left a large cache of water, which meant we could top up and not worry about not having enough water to get to the next sure water source. They also provided a nice apple pie for us to get a bite.
Having both meant that we didn’t need to try and hitch a ride to Julian, which could have been an expensive water stop. Instead we could stay on trail.
So we set up camp and ate dinner while the sun set and we watched a coyote hunting arund the campsite.
Day 7 – 13 / 77
Since we were in the valley, that meant we had to climb. It turned out that that’s pretty much what we did all day – climb. On what was our highest mileage day so far – 14 miles.
Fourteen miles of climbing meant that Jen was not a happy hiker. She’s getting stronger, but hills are not her friends. Give her the flats or rolling terrain and I’m working hard to not break into a trot to keep up with her.
For me, I have always enjoyed the climbs. Head down, do work.
We don’t have many pics from that day, but the views were great, letting us look across the valley to see the entirety of the previous day’s hike.
From a valley hidden by one of the hills near center frame, traversing the mountain to the left, off frame, then down across the desert to our campsite just off frame left down by the creekbed.
But this day was just work. Work to get to a water cache, a place where supporters and trail angels place water for the hikers. Very handy in hot, dry stretches like this, which allow us to carry not so much water weight. Very handy on a warm, windy climb like this.
Here is the cache we were working for. Someone goes through the expense and effort to buy, transport, place and replace hundreds of gallons of bottled water just for hikers. For not even a donation.
It looks to be a mess, but it really isn’t. This cache was very well organized, including a cage where to store the crushed empties. There wasn’t a single speck of trash to be seen anywhere.
But that’s not the topic of this post, but the goal.
Most of the day we had a cool, gentle breeze. Perfect for the climb. In the afternoon, a few gusts. But nothing like the desert can provide. Then I walked around a corner.
I was stopped dead in my tracks, leaning far forward on my trekking poles just hoping to stay in contact with the ground, as the roll down the hill would be a long, painful one. Especially with the cactii.
Luckily it was an isolated gust, but one strong enough that I started to backtrack to make sure Jen was still on the mountain.
She was. With a big grin on her face.
We finally made it to the water cache, set out camp and collapsed. We weren’t going any further and we were asleep before sunset.
Day 8 – 14 / 91