mile 34.1 to mile 53.4: 19.3 miles
Total miles: 53.4
From the wash that we slept in, we continued on our way down the ATV road. With only two liters of water in our packs, compared to the four we’ve been carrying most of the trip, and down two days worth of food, our packs felt super light. As we hiked I brainstormed how I could cut 5lbs from my pack; since my baseweight is a bit over 11lbs, cutting 5 would be a lot; but I think I may send my flip flops and umbrella home, which would save me a pound. Garrett really likes his silver umbrella, but I get tired of carrying it pretty quick, especially because I also use trekking poles.
We made it to our first electric well in this trip, and fortunately for us it was cycling on so we could collect clear water from the spout instead of from the cow pond it feeds. When we arrived there was a herd of cows there, and they had a mini-stampede to move 20 yards away from us as we approached. We refreshed our bottles, and moved on toward the next water cache six miles away. We are all about the shade and water here, we’re always looking for one or another, or ideally both!
We stopped for an early lunch at a shady tree, figuring there wouldn’t be any at the cache by the road. We were mostly right, but there was a tiny patch of shade again under the trailhead awning that we shared with Nemo for a bit. We hadn’t seen her since she left camp that morning, and we continued to leap frog with her for the rest of the afternoon.
The next two water sources were marked as “water tire” on our map, as they are large heavy machinery tires fed by wells. The water may not look very good, but we use filters to remove anything gross, and the water is surprisingly cool for sitting in the hot sun.
We decided to stop a bit early today, as the trail was heading west and so the sun was going to be in our faces until sunset. Our feet were tired too, and fortunately we found a shady spot under two big juniper trees to call home for the evening.
The landscape was a study in yellow all day, capped with bright blue sky. It’s a huge relief when the sun sets, as it gives our eyes a break from the blazing sun. That night, as it grew dark we took in the developing pinks and purples in the sky, watching bats zoom over our tent having their evening meal.