(Sawmill Camp) mile 498 to 516
A mouse got in my food bag. According to the Guthooks comments, there’d been a bear at Sawmill Camp. They advised keeping food in the bathrooms. Bears can’t turn the door handle. But apparently mice can get in pretty easily. There are some little holes chewed in the bag but the only thing that looks nibbled is some oatmeal.
Later I talked to someone who told me the bear incident at Sawmill happened six years ago. She had her food in a Zpack storage bag that looks much stronger than my big clear plastic. I would love to upgrade my food bag.
I got to the pine cone 500 mile marker and later the official sign. I tried to think of something profound that I may have learned after 500 miles of walking. Mostly I thought that I’d be more used to the hiking by now. Like my body may not hurt as much as it did at the beginning, but my feet still do. I’m a lot slower than I’d like to be. I like all the stuff I see and the adventure of being in the wilderness. I love that this trail lets me live this weird alternate daily reality where it’s socially acceptable for me to be hungry, dirty, and sleeping in the desert. And I do love the desert and that I get to see all this California nature as I stroll. So I guess I’ll keep going, at least for the next 500.
Later it got super hot and Ohmugod the flies. THE FLIES!!!! They land on the backs of my legs, right at the crease of the knee, and then they BITE! Some kind of evil stinger they have that’s so painful that I immediately have to jump and slap at my legs. They’re not very fast so usually I can give them a satisfying squish. But by that point, it’s too late. Biting fly bites last forever and they itch like hell.
The next desert flat is coming up. The part where we have to walk on the old aquaduct. The full moon is coming – great for night hiking. These sections are intimidating. Those windmills tell me it’s windy. And are those black patches solar farms? Yay for the planet that they’ve got wind and solar power going on but doesn’t that also spell hot and windy conditions? Sandy too, maybe? Not much water?
All afternoon the trail headed out of the hills with a wide view of the desert floor below. As evening fell, I could pick out the lights of sparse settlements, the coordinated blinking red lights on the windmills. I was within a mile or so of Hiker Town, but decided to camp in a field that night. The heat had finally backed off to balmy. I was feeling rashy from sweating all day long. I took off all my clothes to let my skin dry out in the night breeze.