Post title and song reference by Jennifer.
Because we stopped short the day before, we knew we had a long day ahead of us. It would be a new record for us – 20 miles. Downhill the entire way.
What was that I said about figuring?
The morning started well with us heading out right after sunrise. The trail was smooth and flew under our feet. It was going to be a good day.
Until about three miles in. Then the trail just went to crap. Long sections of overgrown brush followed by sections where the trail had completely blown out, sliding down the mountain. In some sections hikers before us started making their own shortcuts to get to good tread below. We were doing some serious bushwacking. Needless to say, it was frustrating.
After about three trail miles, the trail improved. We were descending and it was getting hotter and hotter through this waterless stretch.
But, as expected, the views were good.
From our camp at 7,800′ to our first water source 15.2 miles later, we dropped to 1,720′. As the crow flies, it was only 4.3 miles. So you can imagine, lots of switchbacks.
That was the common complaint – move 1 mile horizontally to drop 10 feet. A bit of an exaggeration, but at one point we were about 250′ above our water source and knew that we had about an hour before we would get to it.
Once we made it to the water source, we would have been happy to call it a day. But we already had plans to get to Ziggy and The Bear’s, then see about getting a ride to a nearby casino for at least one Zero.
The last five miles through the soft sand of the desert valley floor were insult to injury. Yes, it was still downhill, but the soft sand and heat were really taking a toll.
It was the kind of hot and dry where the common complaint was that everyone drank about 7 liters of water and didn’t have to urinate once. In other words, the desert.
We finally made it to Ziggy and The Bear’ just after sunset, booked a room at the casino and bummed a ride from one of the local guys who was helping at Ziggy and The Bear’s.
After showers and room service, we were out cold.
Day 18 – 20! / 211
Our first off-trail Zero. We woke up, had breakfast and napped. We woke up, had lunch, then napped. We woke up, hand-washed our clothes, had dinner and went to sleep.
It was glorious.
Day 19 – Zero / 211
We had to check out as there wasn’t any availability due to a convention. No worries, as we were planning on heading back to Ziggy and The Bear’s for an overnight then early start.
Until our guaranteed overnight delivery for Friday from Amazon suddenly became an “on-time” delivery for Saturday.
Day 20 – Zero / 211
A forced third Zero didn’t make us happy, but it also let us sit tight another day to recover before what is considered the toughest stretch in Southern California. Plus, it made us sit through a break in the heat and let us start in much cooler weather.
So while it’s frustrating, it’s not all bad. Plus, we’re still ahead of our planned schedule, we’re in good health and great spirits.
Considering this fantastic opportunity, what more can we ask for?
Day 21 – Zero 😦 / 211
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