Highway 74 – tent site
20.3 miles. 2900ft up. 3101ft down.
I hate leaving town because I always have this feeling like I have forgotten to do something or left something behind. Stacy came to pick us up at 7:30am. She is the nicest person. There is a closure in place south of Idyllwild because of a 2013 fire, there is a sketchy road walk around it but I didn’t road walk last year and we aren’t road walking this year either. It’s about a half hour drive to the start of the trail at highway 74 and Stacy is such an interesting character so conversation came easily. It was also nice to be in a car and not feel sick. She gave us a big hug to send us on our way.
It was sunny but cold and I was just warm enough in my shorts as long as I kept moving. The next water was 25 miles away, with the 8am start we didn’t think we would make it that far so we carried enough water to camp with. Me 2 litres. Catwater 4 litres. I made sure I drank a couple of glasses of water this morning.
Although it’s a bit chilly it’s perfect weather for hiking. My bag doesn’t feel too heavy like it normally does but that’s probably because I don’t have enough food or water! We are in more deserty terrain than ever now. Large cactus bushes everywhere, spikey Joshua trees and low lying plants. It’s incredibly beautiful with the sun streaming through. 6.5 miles in I see an emergency water sign so I wait for Catwater. The terrain is so easy today compared to what we have been through recently. The trail is fairly clear and it’s gently rolling. No big ups or downs. I’m getting just under 3 miles and hour. By the time Catwater catches up and we get going we are on a 2 mile and hour pace. I’m not sure how far we will get today.
3.5 more miles and my stomach begins to rumble so we stop and I eat my cheese and crisps. We decide to aim for a tent site 10 miles away and Catwater says she will walk there in the dark if she has to.
The trail is much the same as the morning, a bit more uphill maybe but so gently graded. I keep going. I’m not sure I’ll get going again if I stopped. My legs are so sore today, my thigh muscles hurt with every step and the soles of my feet feel bruised. Why now? I can only think that I didn’t take and Aleve when I was in town and the effects have worn off so everything hurts. I am focused on getting to the tent site so I can take some more drugs!
By 3:30 the sun had gone down behind the hills. As the trail climbed higher I was chasing the sun but it didn’t have much strength anymore and it was starting to get really cold. I didn’t stop to layer up which was a mistake because by the time I got to the camp spot, about 4:20, I was freezing. It was still light and I didn’t know where Catwater was but I decided this was my stop for the night. I quickly pitched my tent and set about getting warm. I was thinking that Catwater would be arriving in the dark but I hear someone saying hello at about 4:50pm. She made it before it got dark! I’m so pleased.
I eat more cheese and crisps and that was all I was going to eat for dinner but I felt really hungry and I was still struggling to get warm (it wasn’t really that cold, I just couldn’t stop shivering) so I thought a hot dinner would help. I made a mountain house beef stroganoff and ate most of it. By then end I was feeling a bit sick. Too much food. I lay down and start to write but I can hardly keep my eyes open. It’s 6:30, way too early to sleep, but I thought I could just rest my eyes for a moment. I wake up at 9pm. Ugh, in town I can’t go to sleep and on the trail I can’t keep my eyes open.
I have a wee and it seems to have warmed up a bit outside, or maybe it’s me that’s warmed up. I finish writing and pop and Aleve PM. Hopefully the pains in my legs and feet will be under control 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.