We slept like crap due to the gale force winds on the San Felipe ridge. The winds were so strong it unstaked our tent and half of it blew in on top of us. Josh got up and handled the situation like a pro while I sat in the tent bitching about everything. I broke out a package of pop tarts at 1am, stolen from another days breakfast, and we ate them out of hunger and frustration. Finally, I drifted off to sleep, intermittently, until 6 am. When we did the routine all over again: coffee, pop tarts, pack, and on the trail by 7:30.
We followed the ridge line for many miles and I recognized one canyon from a scene in the hang gliding ride at Disney's California Adventure! We had been hearing jets break the sound barrier regularly since we arrived and that confirmed that this was the area Disney used in their film. It made me happy to recognize it. I love that ride and it made me think of what a fun time Josh and I had there on our anniversary last month.
As we turned out of the canyon we met the headwind once again, but this time it was cold and we saw clouds crawling over the mountains in the distance. Perhaps the weather is changing?
We stopped to rest briefly a few times and I went to 'dig a cat hole' which really means I went to poop. ;-) I was not graceful in my cat hole endeavors and ended up picking rocks out of my pants and adjusting my underwear for about a mile of open desert.
Finally, low on water, we arrived at the first sign directing us to the third gate water cache. We followed it to an area with several tent sites where we saw another sign pointing us toward the cache. We walked for what seemed like too far and Josh went back up to check our direction. The cache was about a quarter mile off the PCT which we didn't realize. We were hiking thinking we only had x miles to go to the water and the quarter mile off trail threw us for a loop. Once we arrived, we sat in white lawn chairs amidst the water and took off our shoes. We were both beat already, at 8 miles in. We filled up our water and retreated to a shady place to nap as more people arrived at the cache.
It was cold in the shade and we ate beans, Fritos and tortillas under my sleeping bag. We tried to nap but there was too much activity in the area. We decided to call it and start hiking again at 2:30. We said hello to Max, whom we met yesterday at scissors crossing on our way out. Max said he was hurting too, which kind of made us feel better since Max looks to be in tip top condition.
The trail wound it's way out of a canyon and back on to the super windy ridge line. I had to use my buff to hold my hat on my head. We hiked solidly, although in pain, for several miles with few breaks, trying to get to the hundred mile mark. The trail seemed to be on repeat. It wound thru dozens of canyons that all looked the same, over and over without losing much elevation. We passed by a small cave and that's when things started to get hard. Our feet, knees and ankles were killing us and we were totally exhausted from the day and previous night but we trudged on. I started to bonk (low blood sugar) around mile 98 and had to stop to eat some dinner. Our food bags were critically low and we've not been eating enough to sustain our activity.
Around mile 99 I was burned out and started "cryking" for the next mile. At last we made it and took the obligatory photo before heading on. We still had another mile to make to barrel springs and I was already on meltdown mode. We stopped and sat down on a rock and noticed a nice tent site next to it. We decided to stay and add the extra mile on tomorrow.
We set up the tent, and jumped inside and Josh shared some uncooked top ramen and tuna salad with me (which was delicious) and we stole more pop tarts from tomorrow's breakfast and washed them down with some hot chocolate which was a real morale booster.
Now it is 9pm and Josh and I have been off our feet for about an hour and they are still aching like crazy. I am exhausted and part of me wants to hitch into Temecula and get a hotel room for a much needed full zero. I suppose we will see what actually happens tomorrow.
Until then. Goodnight!