Thursday, May 31, 2012

31 May - Day 41 - Another long, hot, dry day winding north-northeast through the foothills

Clearing in the scrub oaks (Mile 587.5) to Landers Camp (Mile 608.9)

Total Trail Miles hiked today: 21.9

Pan (Charles) here.

Day by day we follow our "water report" (posted by Halfmile online and printed off by most thru-hikers) as we move across this landscape. We have since the start of the PCT. The first 700 miles or so you have to keep an eye on where your next water will be. How much should we carry today? Short jaunt between water sources, we might carry a liter. But a long slog means three liters (and each liter weighs 2.2 lbs). Sometimes we miscalculate and arrive very thirsty at a spring. Sometimes we come hiking up to a water source with water still in our bottles. Sometimes the water report is out of date for a particular source and we arrive to find it dry. Disappointed!

Here and there along the way trail angels leave caches of water -- dozens of bottles of fresh water -- stashed under a tree or behind a bush or inside a cooler. Wow, what a treat! But we can't rely on the cache alone -- since it might not have been refilled. Our luck so far has been pretty good -- water almost always refilled at caches by these wonderful trail angels.

Today, at Robin Bird Spring (barbed wire enclosed to keep cattle out -- up a bit of a hill, and flowing cold! wonderful!] we wash our socks out and hang them first on the barbed wire while we eat and rest a bit from the heat of the day ... later, we hang them on our packs to dry as we hike. [Several thru-hikers were clustered at the spring, including Alphabet Soup, Christian, and others].

We ourselves get dirtier and dirtier -- and so just do targeted washing. Our feet at night are a fright of more schmutz than we knew was possible for skin to bear. And then there are the sore spots and blisters and cracks in the feet to be tended.

We see the mountains rising before us to the north. We keep longing for cool high mountains. It's so hot here, and dry. We can see to the west, row and row and row of mountains into the distances. To the east, sometime we glimpse the Mojave and the Owens Valley (depending on our angle) -- dry and desert below. At other times, more arid mountains and valleys seem to have grown to our east.

How mortifying for Charles.
 Nothing much to report on the day. We hike down to an ATV campground where a beautiful spring is running. We will never take water for granted again. Seeing the gushing water at a spring brings tears to our eyes.

Dionysus and Sidekick frequently start humming my grandfather's favorite tune of the Sons of the Pioneers:

"All day I've faced
the barren waste
without the taste
of water.
Coooool water."

We sleep here at the camp under Jeffery pines (yay). Near us, Rubylocks and Calf (Kiwi and German thru-hikers) set up camp nearby. An AA group is camping with RVs and tents not far away, and they are kind enough to offer to haul our garbage out for us. Thanks!

All's well as we bed down. Tomorrow promises to be another hot one.

No comments:

Post a Comment