Friday, June 15, 2012

Days 36 - 41: Putting The Desert In The Rearview

To be perfectly honest, we didn't take many pictues in this section and that's due to a couple of factors: 1. We were getting our asses kicked and stopping to take pictures required more energy than we had some days. 2. We were a little burned out on desert scenery.

Our first day out of the town of Mojave was one of the most, if not the most, challenging days we've had physically. There is no water for 25 miles so we left the Motel 6 with 6 liters each.  Each liter ways 2.2 pounds and we could feel each and every one of them on our shoulders. We were also carrying 7 days of food and, on average, we aim to have 2 pounds of food per day. So there's another 14 pounds. (Whew, this is making me tired just remembering it.)  Right out of town we covered 8 miles of flat-ish grade through another wind farm and then we hit a BIG climb in some serious heat. We would stop often in the narrow shade of Joshua Trees and as the day wore on we started to stess over our dwindeling water supply.  I rolled into camp that evening with a 'victory sip' of water that I'd been hoarding for nearly 2 miles.  The next few days were equally challenging.  With Kennedy Meadows and the Sierra in sight, the desert felt like it was really wearing on us.

Mile 600!!

Through this difficult section we had one GIANT saving grace: GOLDEN BOY. Golden Boy (who was upgraded from Glitter Boy) is Macho Taco's brother and started hiking with us weeks ago from the border.  After needing to get off trail due to injury and illness, Golden Boy came out blazing with Magic in the desert bringing cold drinks, pizza and gooey, breakfast rolls.  He rented a car and managed to meet us at about 6 different places over the course of this tough portion of trail.  One evening (exhausted, windblown and haggard) we rolled into the Walker Pass Campground in hopes of a cozy night sleep. Not the case. With a storm system in the area, the winds were NUTS and the dust and wind whipped around us as we enjoyed amazing trail magic from Oakie Girl. Nearly at whits end, we hopped a ride with Golden Boy into the town of Ridgecrest, hit up an all you can eat buffett at the Pizza Factory and got a good night sleep at a motel.  This spontaneous town night saved our butts, and our sanity. The next morning we got back on trial in more crazy winds and pushed on toward KM.  I don't know if we could ever thank Golden Boy enough for his ultimate magic trip!

Through this was a butt-kicking section, we had an incredibly stunning moon to sleep under each night. One evening we had a 360 degree view of the evening sky: sun setting on one side, full moon rising on the other.

As we turned a corner over Walker Pass, we could feel everything change. We were leaving the desert. There were trees. There were streams. There was shade. We camped about 8 miles from Kennedy Meadows and for our short morning hike to the KM General Store, I had 'Chariots Of Fire' in my head. I just imagined our little crew of hiker friends gloriously slow-walking toward the mountains.  Southern California was an incredible and challenging experence and we are stronger for it.  Those 700 miles also set us up for the biggest payoff ever: The Sierra.

Mile 700!!

Auto Pilot signing a trail register on the way into KM

1 comment:

  1. Nuts! You guys are gnarly. Leaving SoCal is always a good idea.


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