My warm bottle of coffee feels great in the morning. Even though it’s instant. I’m so glad I stocked up on the coffee packets. The cafe Bustelo is my favorite.
According to Guthooks, I had 2.6 miles to the first water and then 40 miles to the next. Could this be right? Maybe there’s a cache (probably not – can’t rely on caches). There are springs but you have to walk 3 miles off the trail. And who knows, maybe some are just seeps, which by now would be just some greenish foliage. Time to camel up and hope that 8 liters will carry me through 2 days of hiking, damn.
I cold soaked some instant grits for breakfast. They looked gnarly but the taste was not terrible. I wanted to try something new, instead of oatmeal. For a girl raised on Quaker Oats, I have a lot of weird ambivalent feelings about oatmeal. Grits are maybe not such an improvement but at least they’re something different.
I started walking and right away found some cows mooing in the forest. There was a little spring with puddles, but shallow and cow-y. Pass. And btw, why are there cows here? How do they even find enough grass to eat in this high desert forest? I feel like this is an inappropriate use of natural resources. Cows can’t eat sage and pine.
I got to the real spring at Lander’s. I wanted to lay down in the trough. I might have if another hiker hadn’t shown up.
At mile 615, there was a huge cache of water bottles sitting in the sun. The water was approximately the temperature of molten lava. Delicious and also thank you, trail angels. Then the tree cover respite ended. Welcome back to the desert. There was one stretch that crossed the open desert valley without a drop of shade. Just a couple miles but it felt endless. So hot. So hard. I pushed myself across and then collapsed into the shade of a Joshua tree. One single cloud in the sky cast a shadow far, far away from me.
I ate my last tuna packet. Where did all that food go? Guess I’ll be eating all the grits after all.
Around headlamp time, I saw a snake puddle. Little striped thing curled into a snaky circle, the triangular head fit perfectly in the center. Geometric and adorable. That baby rattler barely wasted a tongue flicker in my direction as I wide stepped around. Later I saw a real scorpion, black and muscular instead of the regular wispy brown ones. Its stinger strained towards my foot and that’s when my headlamp went out.
Thus ended the night hike.