Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mt. Laguna to Barrel Spring

Day seven is dawning cool and sunny in Barrel Spring. Last night we went to sleep to the sounds of small vermin rustling in the brush around our site, and frogs croaking around the first steady bit of running water we've seen in the desert so far. We slept under live oak trees with several other hikers, all of whom we met along the way - Joey, "Day Late" from Tucson, Ryan, Yancy and Tarc, and Neil and Andrea. We ambled into camp about 6:45 pm after our first 20 mile day, the last to arrive. My feet hurt more than if I'd run a marathon, though my blisters seem to be healing. I'd just never walked so far with 7 liters of water on my back.

Yesterday took us all along the San Felipe Hills, following the contour of every canyon and gully. While long, the trail was very gradually descending which was nice on the knees.

The previous night found us camping in a cozy, sandy wash on the same San Felipe Hills we had hiked through.This site provided a nice respite from the relentless gales that have been pushing us around the past couple days. I do, however, appreciate the wind's cooling properties during the heat of the day.

Before that, we camped in Chariot's Canyon, a grassy stretch that was pretty windy but flat. Earlier, we stayed at Shiner's RV Park, free showers!! We came across that site quite randomly. We were wandering Al Baker's RV Camp looking for a different campground and the manager saw us and offered a grassy patch for Chris, Joey and me. What luck!

Normally, we're up about 6 -6:30, pretty early for some night owls. We have to pack up our sleeping bags, pads and all the clothes we used as pillows overnight. Chris usually makes coffee, a luxury item on the trail. We try to get in 10 miles before lunch and then break for at least an hour to rest our feet. Our routine usually has us cooking dinner after rolling into camp between 6 and 7pm. We've been eating freeze dried meals, ramen, couscous, maybe some tortillas and cheese. Then it's dark and time for reading and writing in the tent. Nights have been somewhat fitful, trying to get comfortable. I'm hoping in time, this tent will be as cozy as my bed in J.P.........yeah right!

Some interesting sightings: teddy bear cholla, prickly pear cacti, barrel cacti, horny toads, one rattlesnake ( I ran. Chris got a picture.), a fighter jet that roared over our heads during lunch and a crazy hiker named "No Pain", who gave us a beer at 4pm one day at a well stocked water cache.

All in all, things are going well. Off to Warner Springs to pick up our first mail drop.

Emily (and Chris)

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