I am finally to a place where I have both a cell signal and a place to charge. In case you were wondering, solar chargers suck and they’re heavy. If I didn’t think it would start a fire, I would have thrown it out 20 miles ago…which it wouldn’t have because it didn’t harvest that much energy.
I am all snuggled into my chilly tent for the night, absolutely thrilled that it isn’t windy tonight. I thought surely there was a hurricane coming through last night. Now that I’m settled after a short day, I’m ready to reflect. Though it is difficult when I’m listening to 2 people snore, 3 people cough, someone talking or moaning in his sleep, and one person blowing something up with very labored breaths. I don’t blame the last person. That’s how I sounded the last 15 miles at least.
The past couple of days have been an adventure. I left Lake Morena in the highest of hopes, smiling up and the trees, when I stumbled over a hidden rock and twisted my ankle, screaming, “Really, Tawny!?” I feel much of the trip was like that. Great and painful. There was a 2500 ft or so elevation gain over 20 miles and I am worn out. I have been extremely dehydrated and stopped to rest at every bend in the trail. I ended up having to camp at a random spot at the top of a rise, nowhere near anything. What I was near, though, was another camper. I am not-so-secretly afraid to sleep alone outside. I was thrilled they were 100 feet away in case I freaked out or something equally ridiculous. That evening, I ran out of water. The next water supply was a mile and a half up the trail but there was no way my dehydrated body could do anymore.
Morning brought more hope and I immediately met a hiker with an irresistible Scottish brogue that made me forget about thirst and hunger until I reached my destination. After food and drink, I carried on in the heat of the day, trudging along the desert portion of the hills, stopping only to lie in the cracks of rocks to hide from the sun. I met a nice naked man in his late 60’s who assured me I would find solace 15 minutes up the trail. What I found was a shaded haven with a tiny creek with ice cold water. I filtered 3 bottles worth. Thank you, naked man.
At that point, it was even hotter and the uphill part wouldn’t ease up. A hiker I had seen twice earlier gave up his spot under a tree to give me shade while he went on his way. I sat down and fell asleep for half an hour. After that, I continued to trudge ahead. I made it 9.5 miles that day, which is a big deal for me. It was amazing how in 200 yards, it went from desert to mountain scenery. I found a little spot among some “dodgy trees” as my camp mates put it, had a lovely dinner of fiesta rice (thank you, mom) with my new friends from down under, and had an absolutely sleepless night in freezing wind. I was happy I packed a luxury item–hand warmers.
Today I only did 4 miles to pacify the blister forming on the ball of my left foot. I went into town, ate a mound of mac n’ cheese, then took it easy. I made friends and laughed as the moths only wanted to attack one person. Shared a beer, and called it a night. Tomorrow, I will take it easy too. My parents are coming to see me. 🙂