Silence. Not a bird call. Not a buzzing insect. Just silence. It’s strange to wake and hear nothing but my own breathing and beating heart. Apart from Cows, Pronghorn Antelope and Horny Toads there doesn’t seem to be much life out here. I know I’m wrong but again there is the silence.
I started hiking at 6am. Taking advantage of the limited cell phone service I type messages as I hike. Big mistake. I’m 1 mile in the wrong direction before I realise I missed a turn off. I take a compass bearing a head cross country through the miniature cactus and Sagebrush.
It’s hot. Made worse by the complete lack of wind. I love the heat and hike better than most in the heat but I struggled in the morning. My old hiking buddy Crunchmaster would have hated today. It wasn’t until the afternoon that a wind appeared which made hiking bearable.
Another southbound hiker appeared. The second I’ve met so far. He gave me his best spray which he no longer needs. Saves me finding a place to buy some. I now have peace of mind when I hit Grizzly Bear country. Now all I need is to find a 10 metre length of lightweight rope to hang my food bag at night. I enter Grizzly Bear country in 3-4 days.
Water sources haven’t been kind to me. I was forced to drink from 2 disgusting cow ponds today. The first looked like urine but tastes ok. Although about an hour after drinking the water I felt weak, nauseous and needed to hurriedly run behind some sage bushes. The second water source had animals living in it. It was so bad I treated the water with my steripen and chlorine tablets. Wish I had my Sawyer water filter. I made a bad choice of water filter for this section of trail. Live and learn.
Despite stretching at every rest stop my left heal was sore late in the day. But I couldn’t stop hiking. I had to make it to the next water. Even a late rain shower wasn’t enough for me to stop and rest. Not that it was worth resting, there was no shade or shelter. It’s a harsh climate here.
It was almost 8.30pm when I finally reached camp. Exhausted. Oh by the way. Just before camp made a sign in the dirt to commemorate 1500 miles of hiking since the Mexico border. That’s a 1500 mile unbroken line of continuous footsteps. Feeling proud.