Both Cold and Hot!
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 3
My new sleeping bag is great. It was cold enough to freeze my water bottle last night, but I
stayed warm and cozy. The only problem I seem to have with it is that it's really hard to get
out of in the morning.
I got up to pee last night and looked down on the world below from my 9,000 foot vantage
point. The valley was ablaze with street lights, but I was so far up they all blended into an
orange glow with brighter lines running straight along the major streets. I stayed out for a
half an hour to gaze at the lights. All the people down there are missing out on what
nature has to offer.
I still have the trots, and had to make four emergency stops along the trail. The toilet
paper situation became critical around noon, and I had to resort to using sections of my
guidebook I have already been through.
I enjoyed my early morning hike through the mountains, but all good things must end.
The trail plunged back into the desert. The trail dropped nearly 7,000 feet over 21 miles of
grueling pointless switchbacks. It wouldn't have been bad if I was actually going down,
but most of the time I just went back and forth. When I finally made it to the valley floor, I
still had a gruelling 3 mile trek to the highway.
Things finally started going my way when a guy named Doug picked me up in his
Explorer. He drove me to town for some much needed food and let me camp in his yard
for the night. Tomorrow he's going to drive me to the post office so I can pick up my food
package, then drop me at the trailhead.
I talked to Doug for a while tonight. He's a 26 year old welder who thinks high gas prices
are ruining this country, so we had a lot in common. I'm glad Doug came along to make
an otherwise unpleasant day nice. I also picked up some Pepto-Bismol, so hopefully, the
trots will son be a thing of the past.
Doug hauled me to the Post Office, then dropped me at the trailhead this morning. It was
already way too hot by 9:00 AM, and it got hotter all day. I hiked for a few hours, stopping
every half hour to cool off.
I spent the morning walking through a forest of windmills on a wind farm. Just after noon,
I passed a sign inviting hikers into their office to cool down. I couldn't resist. Several other
hikers were already in the break room enjoying the cool air.
We started back on the trail at about 1:30. The temperature was over 100 degrees and it
was miserable. We hiked six miles in three hours, stopping anywhere there was shade.
Finally, we reached a small stream and called it a day. I'm hoping to get an early start
tomorrow to beat the heat. The trail is headed back up, so it should start cooling off. I
really don't like the desert!
The good news is I seem to be over the trots. I stopped in the bathroom at the wind farm
where a sign said, Please don't shit on the seat! and everything went well. Hopefully, I'm
done being sick.
|Thanks, Richard Mohler of
Maxwell, for your
sponsorship of this trek.
Your aid is keeping me
warm at night!
I set off before dawn to beat the heat. I switched on my radio to catch the forecast. It
called for a high of 101 degrees today, 104 degrees Saturday, and a broiling 108 degrees
on Sunday. I'm glad I'm heading up high and away from the burning desert.
I spent the day climbing into the mountains next to a pretty little creek. The trail followed
the creek for 15 miles and nearly 7,000 vertical feet. It was nice to be near water all day for
a change, especially at the lower elevations where it was really hot.
The canyon the creek ran in had been burned recently, which was a shame since it left
very little shade. The burn did trigger an explosion of pretty purple flowers that were nice
to walk through, but did nothing to cool me down.
I set up camp under a big cottonwood tree at 4:00. I have a food package to pick up in Big
Bear City, but won't quite be able to make it to the post office by Saturday morning, so I'm
taking a few short days.
Right now, I'm stuck in the tent because the flies are terrible outside. There are
hummingbirds everywhere probably because of all the purple flowers. I'm having fun
watching them and relaxing.
I'm also worrying about all kind of things. The Mojave Desert is coming up. It will be hotter
and drier than anywhere I've been so far. It doesn't sound fun. I also miss my dog and
have no idea what I want to do with my life. I'm really lucky to be here right now and live the
life I live, and I can't forget that.