20th April 22.3 miles
Picnic Area (52.7)to Bushcamp near Scissors Crossing (75)
I woke from my park bench prior to sunrise as the few surviving desert birds made an attempt to chirp. The night had been windy. There were hikers bodies sprawled out at random places around the campground, generally behind clumps of bushes that afforded shelter from the wind. A guy walked over to my table as I was joined by one of the nearby hiking bodies. He introduced himself as ‘Legend’ the trail angel. He had unlimited coffee which I was unable to refuse. Myself and another hiker were entertained by stories that would have been better told while mildly or highly intoxicated around a campfire. Thank you ‘Legend’.
I was on the trail by 7am. The trail was still quite high above the desert floor with commanding views of the sunrise. This is why I’m hiking this trail I thought to myself. Before long I found myself hiking with Cheetah and Gretchen whom I met on day 2 and we have been leapfrogging each other ever since. The 3 of us more or less hiked or suffered through the heat of the day together. For around 16 miles there was minimal shade and a combination of stunted trees and shrubs or fire damaged trees. It was hot and there was no escaping it. My energy levels were surprisingly high. My blisters are only minor and at present they are not painful.
It was around 1pm when I reached a water tank. I had run out of water only 20 minutes earlier. There were about 15 bodies clustered around the little shade that was available. Most I had not met before. They started before I did on the trail.
I’m still not really able to judge how much water I need to carry. It’s all part of the learning process. While hiking in the morning and evening I need little water. During the middle of the day I drink a stupid amount of water.
I rested, ate and drank for about 3 hours until late afternoon. I had more than 20 miles to cover till the next water so I ‘cameled up’ and set off. The 7.5 litres of water made my pack heavy on the downhill trail. I was alone again on this section. At various intervals hikers were sprawled out on any and every available bit of flat ground. I hiked till sunset and slept in a dry creek bed. The wind in the late afternoon was sufficient enough necessitate finding a wind break. For the first time in the trip I lay wrapped in my sleeping bag reading, watching the stars and occasional ‘shooting star’. Life is simple but good.