Tent site – snow canyon road faucet
20.5 miles. 2725ft up. 4118ft down.
I had wrapped up to be warm as has become routine but last night was hot. Eventually I had my sleeping bag just half on and no hat on, the first time since I can’t remember when. I woke up continuously throughout the night. Around 4:30, just before the sun was going to come up, the moon finally went down and it was dark for a bit.
But I was wide awake by 5. That’s what you get for going to bed so early. I read my book and then packed up and hit the trail at 6. It was hot already and the sun wasn’t even up. We had a little uphill and then we went down to Mission Creek. I was struggling with the sun, it was making me feel funny. I made sure I drank some water and filled up with some more from the silty creek.
As we carried on we started seeing people. We realised it was the weekend and there is easy access to this area only a couple of miles down the trail. And I had also realised that I had missed my chance to have a poo. As I was chatting to a guy about whether I had seen his friends some other people came up and asked if I was Puff Puff. I turned to look – it was The Ravens! The Ravens are a family – mum, dad and kids ages 12 and 14 – who thru-hiked last year. I met them once briefly but I heard a lot about them and Catwater made good friends with them. They had been following Catwaters GPS tracker and came out to surprise us. So nice.
We were standing around chatting and I felt faint again. I can’t stand still because it feels like all the blood drains out of my head. When I’m walking it’s fine. So I take my pack off and sit down before I fall down and it becomes a rather embarrassing situation. I don’t tell anyone and no one suspects anything I don’t think.
We walk with them for a bit and just before our big climb we part ways and they will meet us again near the road. I let Catwater know I was feeling funny and we set about climbing this hill in front of us. It’s disgustingly hot. Although much less hot than it was coming north through here. But, as it’s been so cold recently this feels super hot. And today I am losing half my body fluid through my face, it’s literally dripping off my chin. It’s hot but it’s not drippy chin hot. So I sip on my water and stuff in sugary peach loops to try and keep any dodgy feelings at bay. The trail is steep and sketchy in places, but it’s the heat that’s killing me. I don’t want to stop until I get to the top so I just keep moving slowly. At the top there is one tiny little bush providing some shade so I sit myself under it. My top is soaking and so is my face. I wait for Catwater and we eat a snack. Sweaty cheese and pringles.
On the way down the other side there is a little bit of wind which cools us down a bit but it still super hot. The sun is intense. There is no shade and not a cloud in the sky. The Ravens have hiked in to meet us and they hike with us back to their car where they have trail magic!! I feel ropey all the way.
Soda. Fruit. Juice. Bagels. Cake. Bread. Chicken. Oh they have done so well! I guzzle down 2 sprites and mango juice and a chicken bagel. Delicious. We sit in the shade of their car and chat for a while until we have to pry ourselves away and continue hiking. I’m hoping the refreshments have made me feel better. They take our trash (the best hiker pleasure) and wave us off.
We hike down past the now closed Ziggy and the Bear, under the grotty underpass below I-10 and through the flat sandy expanse of nothing which is along the San Andreas fault,where the south is pulling away from the north. We see two guys finishing up their weekend hike. Catwater suggests a helicopter would be a better way of getting up the climb ahead of us, one of the men has a helicopter. The trail provides as they say! We walk away from the helicopter offer and once we have crossed the flat bit we join a paved road and follow it up to the faucet and the last water before the giant waterless climb ahead of us. It is sweet sweet relief to be in the shade. For 20 miles the trail climbs and we gain 8,500ft. It was a bitch to come down and we have been dreading going up it for weeks now. And now it’s finally here.
It’s only 4:30 but we camp near the faucet so we don’t have to haul water up the climb for a dry camp. We can see the blinking red light of the wind farms and the stream of lights from the interstate but thankfully it’s quiet, with just the occasional train noise.
The moon is shining at 1000 watts and we don’t need head light to see. I try and drink more water, I had one wee when I got up and one wee when I got to camp. That’s not enough wees in a day. But I think all the water came out of my face. I eat dinner even though I’m not hungry to try and lighten my load.
It’s warm enough just to sit in the tent, I put off lying down for as long as possible so I don’t fall asleep too early. But, we have planned an early start for tomorrow.
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.