Connections – The Shakedown Hike, Day 2: 10 miles (20 total)

I slept well under the waning strawberry moon.

Morning was clouded up, and I was excited for the prospect of a day without sun. Temps would be much cooler and good for hiking.

A gradual cross country section brought me to a pinch-point and I scouted around a bit to find a good way down, twisting my ankle in the process. 

“Walk it off,” we say, and that works…sometimes.  

With the uneven and rocky weaving around sagebrush and the odd white mariposa lily, walking through cheatgrass just dried out enough to start sticking in my socks, but protected by my gaiters for just that reason, I found I wasn’t walking it off. I was slowly and methodically watching each footstep so I didn’t repeat the twist, and the ache remained.

Then road! But a rocky one, so the attention now went to avoiding the fresh cow pies. Oh yeah, the cows are out, and we are all going the same place: water.

The road exits a dramatic cut in the ridgeline and descends to a fenced and quite lush looking reservoir with piped water into a cattle tank. Score! This set up can provide some of the best water if it’s piped from a spring – or a cattle-free source. (Note: the danger remains that it might be pumped from the dirty cow tank behind you. I filter or treat most water when I don’t see it coming out of the ground….maybe thats just because I do so much hiking in cow country.)

Back to roads. I walked slowly up towards the top of something again. Basin and range: true sagebrush steppe walking. Except for the road that disappeared into the folds of sagebrush as far as the eye could see, it was unbroken.

The sun never came out and I walked happily under the bluish-gray moody day.

And then: a cattle truck. I knew I might run into a rancher or two with all the mooing on the landscape, but this one was really far away, I wasn’t quite sure until I got closer…thinking it could all be a mirage.

Then…a rider on horseback racing up the grade of the next climb. The human is going home. 

I am pleased that I’ll have my solo bubble intact for this 24 hours. It’s been a while since that has happened.

Another creek, and then camp. The birds are chirping away and I set up expecting a bit of rain overnight.


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