Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 13: Mile 127 - Mile 143

During the night we heard hikers passing by with music playing, headlamps and glow sticks around 10pm. I woke up in the wee hours when a large truck passed by and I was annoyed that they would have their lights pointed in the direction of our tent for so long... until it dawned on me that the light was coming from the moon. All in all, I actually slept really well.

We intended to get up at 5am to get in as many miles as possible before the day got too hot. We really got up at six as usual and rolled out of camp by 7. Meh, we'll try againtomorrow.

We jumped on the trail and immediately it climbed, following the contours of the mountain until we popped out on top of a plateau. We took in the views of Anza below and tried to pick out where the trail would lead us. Once we started our descent into the valley below the miles ticked off quickly. We stopped around 10am and several groups passed us, whom we leap frogged as we hiked.

We hit the bottom of our descent into the Anza Borrego Desert and the day was hot! We hiked with purpose to the next watering hole and on the way spotted a horned lizard, which Josh tried to catch, as well as a long, skinny and super fast snake with black and white stripes running vertically down it's back. The snake was digging a hole with it's head before racing away.

Looking down on the canyon where our water in hole was located we could see an enclave of bright green trees shimmering in contrast to the harsh taupe landscape. At last we came to the trail junction and began our downward trudge to the spring. We marveled at the array of colors in the canyon. The trees radiating such vibrant hues that the surrounding hills had no choice but to bloom in reciprocation. There were wild flowers that I have never seen before, in all variety of colors and shapes and even some type of bean in low shrubs lining the road. When we reached the spring, which is really a spigot and hose, we were greeted by Pillsbury, Acorn and Estero who just finished the Florida Trail and a large group, know as Juke's group.

We pulled up some shade next to them and filtered water, ate raw top ramen and took off our shoes. Josh and I are quiet in large groups so we mostly listened to their conversations. A short time later Happy Feet arrived and we were happy to see him. We chatted and relaxed until Happy Feet shot off his sleeping pad like a bullet and yelled "Snake!" The rattlesnakes camouflage was so good it took us a minute to see him but when. We did we were shocked at the proximity of the group to this 4 foot blonde rattler with a black and white tail. Everyone jumped out of the way and went for their phones to snap pictures and video. Eventually, and with encouragement of Jukes umbrella he slithered away into the brush without incident. Since we were up, Josh and I decided it was time to hit the road, hot or not, if we wanted to get in enough miles to make tomorrowan easy day. We left with Pillsbury under a hazy sky and commenced the climb out of the canyon. The miles ticked by until the trail began to climb, and climb, and climb, out of one canyon and into the next via the crest of the mountain. My eyes to the ground, I spotted a couple of large bleached out snake vertebrae in the sand and a set of massive cougar prints.

We arrived at a dry Hiker's Oasis cache around 5pm and saw the AT crew and Pillsbury. We listened to the AT crew talk for a while about being kicked out of trail angel Mike's and having to endure the heat of the day at the cache while they waited for Tigger, a Chinese hiker whom they had taken under their wing. Finally, Josh and I were spent and Pillsbury looked like she needed an escape route from the social scene. Josh and I looked for a place to camp up trail. When we found a suitable space we invited Pillsbury to join us and she did. Eventually Juke and the rest of the crew filtered in and out of the cache and it was quiet.

Josh and I, once again, critically low on food, ate ramen with dehydrated chili and split a snickers. We rubbed way others feet and chit chatted with Pillsbury before calling it a night.

Right now it's 9:40 and Josh and I are tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable spot for our aching muscles. Tomorrow we have a little over 8 miles to do to get to hwy 74 and The Paradise Cafe where we will eat and drink everything.

Fun facts:
So far on the trail I've had the following songs stuck in my head randomly, on repeat.
-AC/DC Dirty Deeds
-Prince Raspberry Beret
-Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song
-Lady Marmalade
-MIA Bad Girls
-Here Comes The Sun

Food: I crave fresh strawberries and 7up. All day I'm consumed with cravings for 7up.

I think I'm finding my rhythm. Things are starting to get more manageable and even fun!

Until tomorrow. Goodnight!

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