I know what you're thinking...you guys are 0.8 miles from 15 for the day!
We've come up short.
The reason being, we found a place to camp that was sheltered from the wind and we took it.
Now, let me rewind...
We woke to the various sounds of nature on that sweet little beach by Deep Creek. As soon as we woke I wanted to hurry and get the tent down to avoid having to explain anything to a ranger who may happen by. Once the tent was down I relaxed and asked Josh if he wanted coffee. He gave me a snappy response which hurt my feelings and we danced around each other walking on eggshells for a while until Josh gave me a hug and apologized for being snappy. I apologized for rushing him and being so cautious. The morning got better from there and we set out back on the trail.
We walked the crest of the mountain following Deep Creek and admiring the flora and fauna on the trail. I studied the footprints in the dirt and decided that Pillsbury has a shoe print doppelgänger, as there is no way her prints can still be visible. We hiked for 3 miles or so before I had to do some repair on the foot that I ripped off all the skin on before making the final push to Deep Creek Hot Springs.
Now, I've been to Deep Creek Hot Springs before and while it is an amazingly beautiful geothermal wonder, I am always made uncomfortable by the crowd. Not so much that they're all nude but the general loady/druggy/creepy-old-man, type vibe is overwhelming for me. We rolled into the beach area and saw several hikers plus the normal Deep Creek people hanging around in the water. Josh and I took up some shade near a hammock and started in on an early lunch. We were soon joined by the owner of the hammock who immediately asked us if we smoked herb. We politely declined and continued about our lunch while he got in his hammock. Not more than 15 minutes later did he literally crawl out of his hammock and across the sand like a cat to lay next to me.
"I just took a bunch of mushrooms and I'm frying balls!" Said Hammock guy
"Ok, cool" I reply
Hammock guy goes on and on, over and over the same topics and repeating at every opportunity that he was on mushrooms. Josh took control of the conversation and kind of played along but I was totally over it. We got intermittent breaks from mushroom/Hammock guy and Josh asked me if I wanted to swim. I looked around at the area: topples hippie chick doing some type of (ungraceful) belly dance move, a couple making out in the middle of the hot pool at center beach and a beach full of fat naked men ogling everyone.
I declined and told him
A) I had fresh bandages on my foot and
B) I feel totally self conscious here.
He understood and I told him he could go but he only soaked his feet.
Hammock/mushroom guy came and went and his name turns out to be Cory, aka Tarzan. He was only 25 and honestly, a hot mess. He came out to the creek two weeks ago with friends and hasn't left since. He talked at length about his kids and mom and seemed to be in a bad trip, filled with regret.
I took a breather from him and followed Josh to the hot pool where I put in my good foot. It felt wonderful but not as good as getting out of there would feel, so I told Josh I wanted to leave. We were only there about an hour but it felt like an eternity.
We bid mushroom boy good day and started the hot climb out if the creek bed next to rocky cliffs. All of a sudden a rock came off the wall and hit me hard in the hand. I yelped and Josh spun around to see a large crow above me on the rocks throwing things off. We passed all manner of loaded people carrying only towels and wearing only flip flops, - no water, no food.
Eventually the day hikers petered out and we were left alone walking the ridge forever. You could tell we were close to civilization by all of the graffiti. In general, this was a really ugly section of trail. We found a cow mandible and knocked out one of the huge molars. I wanted to pack out the tooth but it smelled terrible! If we were closer to town I may have taken it. We also passed a solo southbounder who told us she was a 'myth' - multi year thru hiker.
Finally, the canyon ended and we were over looking the Mojave River Split Dam. We wound our way down to it and the wind was howling. The trail was not intuitive in this industrial area but we managed to find our first river ford and crossed successfully. We filtered water and Josh had a terrible cat hole experience and his traumatic story that made me laugh. We hiked out of the River valley and into an open meadow. We crossed hwy 173 and there was an unattended RV with chairs around it and empty soda bottles wit a sign that said Hiker Trash Welcome. Josh and I looked at each other and continued on. This has to be the eeriest place we've ever been in. The whole day was just WEIRD!
The trail climbed dramatically and the wind was ferocious as we started another crest section. I found a suitable spot to cat hole and took off in the brush. I must have accumulated bad karma laughing at Josh's cat hole disaster because I too had a bad trip. I'll spare you the details but it wasn't fun.
I was feeling nauseous for some reason and we found a spot relatively sheltered from the wind so we took it. Setting up the tent in the wind is always a challenge but we managed and hopped inside.
Right now it's 3:40pm on the next day. I was so tired and feeling yucky I only finished half my entry. Tomorrow's entry is much less weird! I promise!
Until then! Goodnight!