Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2 May - Day 12 - surprising landscapes (always!)

From Warner Springs "beach" at Mile 109 to cowboy camp at Mile 130

Total PCT Miles today: 21 

Chris here.

We all wake up raring to make up some of the time we've lost tending to injuries, so while our various camp mates take breakfast at the community center we push on early. Up the Agua Caliente Creek basin. We wind our way through familiar chaparral up and over the rain shadow ridge - back into the Anza Borrego desert. What an improbable landscape. Huge boulders in the middle of dry sand dunes and surrounded on all sides (across the ridgeline) by green and trees - why this one valley so arid?

Eventually we finish the slog down to a dirt road (127) and hope for water. We hike a 1/4 mile up the road to trail angel Mike Herrera's place. What a fun place, with a half-dug-out grave, skeet shooting range, -- so much variety and fun odds& ends about the yard, and no owner in sight. Actually it was unfortunate that Mike wasn't home we would have loved to have met him and said thank you for the shelter and the water - he had water, bunks, and a covered patio out of the wind available to hikers even while he was gone (amazing). We restocked on water and cooked up an early dinner on one of his picnic tables.

While we are there the overcast day shifts into high winds and funny cloud columns billowing sideways down the valley. Despite conditions we push on another 3 miles through the weather. To our fortune and surprise we pop up above the weather to an amazing saddle between two peaks. The taller of the two blocks the wind and channels the columns of mist down across the valleys on either side of us. The other peak frames the full moon beautifully in the night sky. We set up camp in the light of the stars and moon. Great end to the day.

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