Started: 07:00 @ MM 55.9 – Oriflamme Canyon
Finished: 16:15 @ MM 77.0 plus 2 bonus miles of road walking to Stagecoach RV
Water: Drank so much that I lost count (at least 6L) … Peed not often enough!
Wildlife: 1 Hummingbird, 1 Dragon, 0 Snakes, 0 Bears
Food: Oatmeal, Dried Fruit, Beef Jerky, Pro Bar, Trail Mix. Chicken Curry & Rice
Health: 0 Blisters, Sunburnt legs, sunburnt lips and a million aches and pains! After the joy and euphoria of yesterday, today was a wake up call and massive reality check. On paper (or more accurately on the app) things looked pretty straight forward … a 21 mile day, all down hill, with a couple a reliable water sources along the way. The first few hours were pretty relaxing and our new trail family (myself, Chance, Bacon, Eggsy, Pumkin Pie and a few others) reached the first water stop just in time for second breakfasts. Everyone was in good spirits and then suddenly shit got real and started kicking our butts! The next 8 miles was all downhill, including a 1 mile super steep section. The trail was also very rocky for much of the time which meant that you had to really concentrate on where you were putting your feet. This became mentally very tiring and the constant down was really testing on both knees and feet. As we lost elevation the temperature also started to soar. In short, yesterday’s awesome hike had suddenly become a slog of attrition through a scorched and waterless furnace. All I could think about was watermelon … I wanted watermelon soooooo badly! By lunchtime we had covered just over 12 miles. The hiker trash clung to tiny pockets of shade; resting blistered feet and replenishing depleted energy levels. The heat was brutal and we still had 9 miles to get through. There was only one option … Head down and grind. The next 2 ½ hours were some of the toughest hiking I have ever done. We finally reached the road a Scissors Crossing and I have never been so happy to see cars. However now the challenge would be getting one of them to stop and give us a ride. The campsite was another 4 miles up the road and I could barely face another yard, let alone miles. It took us almost an hour to hitch a ride. However, the reward of a long hot shower, laundry and a level pitch (complete with picnic table) did help to ease some of the pain.
It’s hard to believe that today was such a contrast to yesterday. Today the trail handed me my ass, today the heat was brutal, today I started to understand a little of the metal tenacity that will be needed if I am to reach Canada. Tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be learning plenty more as I tackle one of the longest and toughest waterless sections of the trail … But for now I’m too exhausted to even think about it!