Just for our moms, we hiked the road (Hwy 2 that we landed on after climbing down the mountain) ALL DAY LONG. We didn't get back on the trail until later in the afternoon, and then only hiked a few miles before calling it a day at 3 p.m. Zelda's bum hurt and we were all tired and sore from the day before. We called it a Mother's Day present for Zelda. Plus, we had happened upon a nice boyscout camp with running water and picnic benches. We are BIG suckers for picnic benches.
We hung out, Zelda stood a lot and we went to bed early. Oh, and did I mention we were sore?
Monday - Our First 25 Miler
We woke up early (Tarzan and Zelda are early risers - she was calling our name by 5:30 a.m.). I awoke to find myself possibly more sore than the day before. My shoulders were so sore I couldn't even stuff my sleeping bag all the way in the stuff sack. This was in large part from supporting myself on my poles when trying not to fall down the mountain. Oh, and I sort of slipped a few times, having to catch myself either with my arms, or a couple times grabbing on to plant branches when slipping.
We lost Tarzan and Zelda pretty early on - you could say she had a fire under her ass and she just wanted to GO. We hiked, we ate, we hiked some more. We ended up at a ranger station around dinner time, where we cooked before heading on. This is where we met a new friend - Montana. He hiked the AT a few years ago, and if you haven't guessed... he's from Montana. We liked him right away. As we were chatting with a few other hikers, someone spotted a baby rattle snake napping right by the faucet, as shown here.
Montana was going to stay near the flushing toilets and running water, so we bid him adieu and hiked on. We were only planning to go 3 or 4 more miles, however a lack of a flat camping spot kept us moving on. Pretty soon Montana caught up to us (he's fast with a super light pack), so we all went looking for a spot together. A note from Tarzan and Zelda had let us know they were staying down the trail, so we ended up heading there. Our 3 to 4 miles turned into 7 and by the end of the day we had successfully completed our first 25 miler. All 5 of us camped together and it was enjoyable.
Tuesday - Happy One Month on the Trail!
The day marking our one month on the trail was welcomed with WIND. And not just a nice breeze, but heavy, moves you while you walk, wind. The kind of wind that motivates two backpackers to leave their jackets on through the afternoon. Now that is some wind.
We took a long break at lunch, enjoying a nice nap in the sun, before heading "down" the mountain. After 10 minutes back on the trail, the wind was replaced with a hot sun. The jackets came off, and we started to curse the desert. It was a long up and down over burnt desert mountains with some small steep up and downhills. We arrived at an RV park that looked welcoming from up on the trail, but was somewhat sketchy upon arrival. After cooking dinner and enjoying the shade of a large tree, we got back on the trail for just a bit before finding a flat spot on a ridge. We were in bed before the sun went down.
Wednesday - 10 Miles to Agua Dulce
We woke up early and were on the trail by 6:15, and before it was even 7 we understood what the desert can do to you. We were hot. Thankful we started early and it was only 10 miles to town, we went as fast as we could. It paid off - by 9:45 we were sitting at the Sweetwater Cafe in Agua Dulce enjoying a lovely breakfast. Some of you may be interested to know we hiked right past the famous Vasquez Rocks, commonly seen in many movies and TV shows.
The interesting thing about Agua Dulce is that the trail literally goes straight through the downtown area, and there isn't a hotel. However, almost all hikers find themselves here taking a zero day. How you may ask? We find ourselves in the presence of greatness in the form of Jeff and Donna Saufley. Also known as Hiker Heaven, they open up their two bedroom guest house trailer and huge lot to all PCT "hiker trash," as we are fondly called. This place has been known as a vortex of sorts, where hikers find themselves unable to leave. In fact, due to the massive popularity, they have had to set a 2 night maximum stay. You walk in, take a laundry basket, grab some clothes out of the tent closet, put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket after taking a shower, give it to Donna, and she gives it back to you clean. Talk about service!
Patty came in to visit us and brought grandma and grandpa with her. We went for pizza and enjoying catching up. Patty ended up being talked into taking Zelda to the doctor and drove them all the way out by Magic Mountain for the visit. And... it was bad - "a serious injury" as the doctor said. She received anitbiotics and is off the trail for at least a week. Patty invited them back to her house, but Zelda didn't think she could sit in the car for the whole ride, so they are going to get a hotel room around here. She has to go back to the doctor in a few days anyway.
Oh, and Patty made homemade lasagna for everyone here and was beloved by everyone. Best mother-in-law ever!
Thursday - Stuck in the Vortex
As you can imagine, we've been enjoying the hospitality of "heaven" and hanging out with our friends here. We have especially enjoyed Montana's company. Unfortunately, he is DONE with the desert and can't wait for trees, so he is jumping ahead to get to the Sierras early. But honestly, we never would have been able to keep up with him anyway - he wants to be done by mid-August so he can ride his bike from Washington to Montana, and then hike the Continental Divide Trail back to his hometown. Yeah, he's a rockstar.
We leave tomorrow for a 23 mile stretch in the hot desert sun before arriving at another trail angels' house - the Andersons. Someone was smart enough to suggest we drive all of our gear up there tonight and "slack pack" it tomorrow (carry only food and water for the day). Since we need lots of water, this was a GREAT idea.
More stories of the hot sun to come, we're sure.