Today was hard. 16 miles of hiking along rocky ridges…it was stunning and rugged, and I’m wiped.
I took it easy in the morning, although I was up before the sun and walking by 6am. I hoped I hadn’t burnt my legs out yesterday with the climb, heat, 7 days of food, and lots of water.
To my delight there was water in each of the drainages marked blue on my map. In fact, there was water flowing over the trail that didn’t even show up on the map. For a desert mountain range in the middle of August this was magical, and the opposite of what I had expected given my experience with desert mountain water sources on the ODT south of here.
I took some breaks but kept moving slowly up the trail. There was a lot of exposure, and it had me uber focused on each step I took to avoid a tumble down the mountains. The level of attention the hike demanded was exhausting…my body and mind were 100% focused on the task at hand: don’t fall off the mountain.
The views though…
The trail took me through old burn areas where manzanita had started to encroach and obscure trail. Sometimes I just headed where I knew the trail was going, Sometimes I thrashed, hot and frustrated.
It was warm today, but some cloud cover helped me avoid triple-digit temps on the ridge walk.
The clouds gathered more steam, and a few drops practically sizzled on my skin when they decided to finally start falling. I passed an unmapped water source on the trail, setting my sights on camping at the next one just a little way up the trail. Of course, the trail went straight up (literally) from there, and when I arrived, wouldn’t you know it, this marked drainage was the first one without water the whole day. I had to backtrack, and there is no backtracking 😦
So tired. Rain, thunder, sleep. Tomorrow: more manzanita, the highest point on the route (for this section) and swimming potential…