Night. So. Cold. By the time the sun was up, I had stuffed all my extra clothes down my pants. Because I get extra cold on my haunches. It’s a struggle. The cold made me have crazy dreams too. It was a night.
I unzipped to find frost on the fly and frozen water bottles. Ice sparkled on my bike packs. I let the rainfly dry off in the morning sunlight. After everything was packed, I noticed the cut on my thumb was back. It’s this weird thing that happens on my thumbs when I’m cold. Or in high desert. Or cold in high desert. It’s only painful when I do thumb things. Like changing gears. Or basically most things. Lots of things involve thumbs.
I still had some uphill to walk. It was a beautiful desert. And the cirios were starting. At first I saw them on the hills, silhouetted on the horizon. Then I crested a hill and there was the first valley full of them, tall green fuzzy cone shaped plants. Some at least three stories tall, mixed with huge cardon cactus.
It was incredible. And then the road got easier, less rocks, more fine gravel and sand. I ate Nutella and corn tortillas for lunch. My water was getting a little low. I kept bumping down the road, slow to admire the curly weird shapes all around. I spied some tents on a hill. Other cyclists? Local campers. Whoever, probably they had water. I pulled in and three guys came down to meet me. They were in army camo and carrying large guns, which gave me a startle at first. But they were smiling and one guy was eating a ham sandwich so it was okay. They insisted on filling all my water bottles and asked me about the trip so far. They said they camp out here for a month at a time.
It’s amazing how good water tastes when you’re really thirsty. I continued on. Suddenly a beautiful horse jumped into my path. It was a paint, brown and white with such a gorgeous face. It kicked and danced in front of me and dashed away before I could even make a move to get my camera. I saw it peering at me from beside a cardon before bounding back into the desert.
I heard the buzz of a motor and a dune buggy pulled up. A guy named Grover stopped to give me a cold Gatorade from his cooler. “I hope Baja treats you well!”
I kept riding till around sunset and then pulled off to find a perfect sandy patch hidden from view. Hummingbirds whizzed by me to a bush with small blue flowers. I sat in the door of my tent, squeezing black beans from a packet onto my tortillas, adding the avocado and a squirt of salsa. It was a perfect mild night.