I slept pretty good in the little grove of Joshua Trees on the hillside, even though it was windy. I woke at 5:30 but didn't start getting up until 6. We broke camp at 6:45 and headed out on switchbacks into the wind. In some areas the wind was so bad we could lean against it with our packs on and it would hold us up. We watched with smiling faces as crows hovered on the currents for no other reason than the joy of flying. The trail climbed and climbed on well graded switchbacks (which Josh will tell you he eats for breakfast) until it reached the tree line. While we walked through the pines we met with a southbound section hiker. He asked us our trail names and Josh told him we had no trail name but introduced us by our real names. The southbounder replied, "THE Josh and Mandie?" We looked at him confused and he told us that he follows our blog. He introduced himself as GoalTech and gave us info about the trail ahead and offered us some food and supplies but we were already set. After chatting for a while we bid him good bye and headed down the trail.
I am so stoked on all of the cool people I get to meet because of the Blog. It really makes my day to get the feedback and comments and sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me going. I don't get to respond to all of your comments because I'm generally on my phone, but do know I read them and appreciate them so much!
The day was getting hot and I knew I was going to be very tight on water and tried to only sip when necessary. The trail dumped out on a dirt road and we dodged dirt bike riders as we climbed toward another wind farm. Josh and I were both struggling in the heat of the day being so dehydrated and were both feeling dizzy. We tried to take it slow and steady and eventually reached the top.
We still had about 5 miles to go until we got to water and we hiked with a purpose. I could tell by the plastic taste that was down to the bottom of my water and I sipped it shallowly to avoid the morale crushing blow that sucking on an empty tube would bring. I was losing my cool a bit now and starting to well up until Josh said he could see a pipe that had to be the spring. I had new hope that was soon dashed when Josh kept going passed the area. He turned to me and said," sorry I was wrong, those were stumps not the pipe. I started to cry, which oddly gave me some relief from the nausea, and took out my phone to see exactly how much further we had to go. Only 0.2 miles, I can do this. We pushed on and dropped into a shady grotto where frogs and squirrels were hoping around and the cattle trough came into view. We beelined to the spring source about a foot above the trough and Josh filled our dirty bag. There were two other section hikers getting water and we said hello but couldn't really hold a conversation. After the bag was full we found a shady place where we took off our shoes, ate and drank electrolyte loaded water. That was a close one, I don't think I want to do that again.
We were soon joined by Darwin and another thru hiker who's name I've forgotten. We all relaxed for a while and Josh and I were the first ones back on the trail. We were toting 5 liters each this time and planned to only hike another 5 miles. My pack was excruciatingly heavy with all the water and I was very slow on the uphill. Finally after a long push and some new chaffing issues (oh, joy) we arrived at our tent site for the night which was not only in a burn area but also below a wind farm. I commented to Josh that it was a bit noisy and ugly and he replied that it will probably be the best sleep ever. So far, the weirder/uglier/random the tent site, the better I sleep. I'm not sure why that is.
Right now it's 9:00 and we are listening to, what we hope, is a cow braying in the distance. Cow or bear, either way, I cannot keep my eyes open so I bid you goodnight!
Until tomorrow, buenos noches.