Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 7: Rodriguez rd. to mile 83.3

We slept better on our foam pads last night and woke up at 6am. We packed, pop tarted, coffee'd and hit the trail second in the herd. The trail was blanketed in wild flowers and the views were amazing but it was already starting to heat up.

We could see our destination throughout the hike but the trail went all wonky. It climbed only to descend and swung back to go forward. As our feet started to hurt and the temp rose we started getting cranky. At last after 6 miles or so we hit the desert floor and set out on a two mile exposed walk in the heat. We were blessed with large clouds that would cover the sun periodically and a steady breeze, but my feet were really hurting by mile 7 and I was not hiking as much as I was waddling.

When we reached the road a lady pulled over and offered to take us to her house to do a little trail angeling. Josh and I have never encountered that and we passed on her offer due to being uncomfortable and opted to head for the water cache. Perhaps we should have taken up her offer but it was way out of our comfort zone at the time.

Finally we made it to the bridge at scissors crossing and collapsed onto our pads. We were accompanied by Beacon, a seasoned thru hiker. We chatted for a while and ate and were soon joined by Rocket Llama, Bumble Bee and Max. They planned to take the shuttle into Julian for pie and we talked about snakes, the AT and the trail ahead until their shuttle arrived.

After they left Josh and I tried to nap but the wind picked up, blowing a fine grit over everything. We waited until 3:30pm to start packing up. As I was re-taping my feet I was feeling down. Like, really down and I started to cry. I sat next to Josh on an old sofa under the bridge and cried. Josh said he thought that I am going through the home sickness adjustments he was going through when he moved out of his apartment before the hike. I agreed and felt better knowing the cause but still felt sad.

I went to wipe my face of the tears and spotted a gang of turkey's skulking thru the brush! Two adults and two babies! We sat very still and watched them cross under the bridge and into the wash. I looked up turkey medicine and it said turkey represents an emptying of oneself in order to be filled with something new. That's pretty trippy!

We packed up and left he bridge at 4pm. We passed Max, who had just been dropped off from Julian back to the trail and he went back under the bridge to rest.

We started the switchbacked ascent into the San Felipe hills in a 50 mile per hour head wind. No joke. It was insane how difficult it was to climb against that wind and about half way up the second switchback I invented a new hiking style: cryking.

Cry-king: (verb); to cry while hiking: a style of hiking usually adopted following over exposure to the elements, sore feet, homesickness, fatigue and hunger.

Yes. I sobbed like a baby for almost two miles but hey, I made it two miles, and my nose and eyes haven't been so clean since before we left campo. I don't know what's going on with me. Since Mount Laguna I've gone full retard, I have to look at the map ten times for the same mileage question, and I can't make decisions or converse with people. I feel out of sorts. Like going to a new school, you miss your old school and friends and even though you're making new friends, you still don't really feel you fit in and you long for the familiar. I don't know if that makes any sense but that's the best way I can describe it.

Finally I stopped crying and we hiked on for another two miles before stopping for dinner. Everything tasted like crap. I didn't want to eat anything but I knew that part of my weepiness was insufficient food. Hell, we hiked 8 miles this morning on a couple pop tarts. That's not enough. The only thing I could get down were some gummy fruit chews and a packet of tuna.

As we were eating, a lady passed us named Edith who was Australian. We talked about mileage and the trail and she mentioned she was going to take it slow since she had to get a box from the post office in Warner Springs and that it wouldn't be open until Monday.
Wait, what day is it? Friday?! That means well have to wait too. The thought didn't even enter our brains until she said it. See what I mean? Full retard.

After "dinner" we packed up and tried to jam out some more miles. We picked up the pace until both our feet disintegrated. We pitched the tent in a tiny flat spot with some tree cover acting as a wind block and jumped inside to do our nightly routine of baby wipe bathing and foot care. Josh has huge blisters under calluses on both heels and I just grew a new one on the side of my big toe. I really hope our feet adjust soon! This sucks!

Now, it is 9:30pm and Josh and I are laying on our stomachs side by side in the tent and typing away on our phones. Tomorrow we plan to do a17 mile day taking us to the 100 mile mark!!

Until tomorrow. Good night.


  1. Your commitment to keep pushing on is impressive and inspiring.

  2. I had to go back re-read this post because I couldnt believe you met up with Beacon and Rocket Llama. In retrospect, I would have followed them like a puppy because they are true veterans. Last year Beacon hiked and did trail magic on the CDT last year. He would leap frog ahead a hundred miles to pick up his favorite groups and take them into town to do their errands. Very seasoned hiker with a wealth of knowledge only surpassed by the magnitude of his heart.
    And there is Rocket Llama who was hiking the northern Cascades last year and was snowed in deep. Couldnt get out. Rescue teams couldnt reach her. So she self rescued herself by somehow trudging through very deep snow down a ravine until she could contact people. She is like super-hero in my book.