Upper shake camp ground – tent site
20ish miles. Don’t know the elevation because halfmile does not list the closure and road walk.
I woke in the night a couple of times needing a wee, so once you have done it once there is no shame in doing it again, so I did it in the Jetboil again. I must not make this a habit! It was interesting to see how much I was producing, it was about 350ml each time. (The Jetboil has measurement marks on the side).
There was an owl hanging around my camp throughout the night. Who-who who. Who-who who. Who-who who. That went on for quite a while. As did the falling of things from trees. Acorns, pine cones, branches. I’m pleased I chose to camp in the most open area I could find.
I woke up with my alarm at 6:30. It rained a lot in the night and I was scared to look outside. I could see my tent was wet, and there was a bit of condensation on the inside and the top of my sleeping bag. I peeked out and looked for the stars. I could see a few, which meant there were no clouds, brilliant! But it also meant that it was absolutely bloody freezing.
I reluctantly put on my wet top, my dry warm vest and my wet waterproof over the top in the hope that my body heat and the air would dry them out as I walked. I put my long legs on as they were nice and dry. Packing up was agony, my hands were sore from yesterday, where they were so cold, wet and swollen for so long. And now they were getting cold again as I was packing up my tent in the dark. It was soaking wet and and by the time I had rolled it up and stuffed it in my pack, and dismantled the poles my hands were reduced to useless stumps again. Doing up the buckles on my pack was agony and after every one I would have to put my hands between my thighs to try and stop the pain and warm my fingers up. It was a slow process. I shoved my poles into my pack, it was too cold to hold them, and I shouldered my pack without doing up the waist or chest buckles because I couldn’t make my hands work. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my vest in the hope they would warm up. I could see my breath.
It was about a mile down to the road, following a steep rocky river bed. I’m glad I did this last year otherwise I wouldn’t have known it was here. I felt really sick on the way down, I drank the rest of my water and hoped that would help. Once I got onto the road it was about 6 miles down to the town of Lake Hughes, the Rock Inn and real food. And I could finally feel the sun on me. Ah the sun. It feels so good. I got cell service and I had a text from Catwater, she had stopped at Sawmill camp ground last night. I text back that I would meet her at the Rock Inn. Road walks are pretty boring so I called my parents to pass the time. I could feel my clothes drying out and I was even able to take my layers of hats off.
I made it to the Rock Inn at 9am and ordered a hot chocolate straight away. I waited for Catwater before ordering food, she arrived just after 10 and it excites me that they are serving from the lunch menu as well as the breakfast menu so I order a tri tip sandwich and fries (trip tip is a specific cut of beef sliced super thin, served in a delicious gravy marinade thing – delicious!). I of course had a Sprite to go with it. Perfectly acceptable food for 10am. The lady was very attentive on the Sprite and I managed 3 big glasses. Catwater ordered breakfast and then another breakfast!
Then it was time to start walking again, we stopped in the convenience store across the street and I got a twix ice cream and a chocolate milk. I think the chocolate milk was probably a step too far!
Now, after yesterday I do not want to complain about the sun, but it was HOT! Soon I was stripped of my layers and angling my visor to block it out. We had 6 more miles of the road to walk before reconnecting with the trail. It’s not too bad as there is a decent size shoulder to walk on but the cars really do fly past very fast.
After all that liquid I really needed to wee, of course there is nowhere to go along the road so I got back to the trail as quick as I could and ducked behind a bush, too late to realise that I was still in full view from the road. Oh well.
We took a few minutes to yard sale our stuff and dry it out, I changed into my damp shorts so they would dry and I carefully hung some things off my pack. The temperature was perfect, it’s incredible what a difference a day makes. We picked a camp spot 7 miles away and aimed for that. The trail was gentle and winding and followed a ridge for most of the way. I think back to last year and I remember this part of the trail being really difficult, but maybe last year I wasn’t as physically fit, and this year I’m not walking with someone who always made me feel like I was too slow and not good enough. Things are just different.
When I got to the camp spot I saw that it was where the cache had been last year – there were cool boxes full of sodas and water and chairs. A little oasis in the desert. This year I heard they had to take it down.
It was just after 5pm. Still early, but I was ready to camp. My feet and legs were hurting and I thought Catwater must be tired because she has done 5 more miles than me today. So we set our tents up. It’s still light and its dry so I take my time setting up. I get the perfect pitch after yesterday’s poor attempt. Then I get a confession from Catwater ‘so I got to the road an a man offered me a ride into Lake Hughes, so I took it’. She hitched the road walk! That’s how she got to the Rock Inn at such a reasonable time! Haha!
I don’t cook anything for dinner, for two reasons. I’m not that hungry after my massive meal earlier, and I haven’t properly cleaned out my jetboil from last night, other that with a moist toilet wipe, so I don’t fancy using it to make dinner in! I eat a few chips ahoy cookies. I’m so nice a dry and cosy and warm I struggle to keep my eyes open. It’s only 7pm but my eyes are so heavy…
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.