Mile 47.5 – Mile 61.5 14 miles (+ distance from Laguna CG back to trail ~ 7/10)
Left camp at 4:30. So hard to get up when it’s cold, but I wasn’t sleeping well anyway. There were a ton of people camped there last night and we were all on the same patch of grass. It felt like a music festival without the music. I miss music. There was even a bit of a party vibe going on. Nothing too crazy, but it went on for awhile. And then there was the snoring. Ha!
Karen and I were up and hiking by 4:30 again. It was so cold!!! I treated myself with powdered sugar donuts for breakfast on the way out of camp. They were SO good! We hiked in the dark for awhile before we started to see the light filter over the horizon onto the desert below. What?! All morning, we watched the sun rise over the desert to our right and the full moon hang in the sky like it was painted there to our left. It was magic! We stopped many times to take pictures of the amazement, which slowed us down a lot.
It was a beautiful morning! Breath-taking! Jaw-dropping! Word-stealing! It felt like every half hour we were walking through some new wild landscape. Green with a desert backdrop, giant boulders, big red cliffs, more desert.
We took a nice long break around 9:00 to dry out some wet gear, rest and eat. I think we’d gone about 7 miles by then. Around 10:00 as we were packing up, we finally saw our first other hikers. The sun started to bake us around 11:00 and we slowed down, aches and pains getting the best of us. Around 2:30-ish, we arrived at a dusty spot beside the trail and assumed it was our campsite. Later we moved down a little farther off trail to the windiest place on earth and cheerfully set up our tents. We just couldn’t walk another single step!
Dudley rolled up a little later and now we are all hunkered down in our tents ready to face the night, dust whipping through the mesh giving us a nice trail tan. Sun protection for tomorrow?
Today was a quiet, very solitary day. Interesting after the past few days of being around a lot of people. Karen and I were alone for the first 5 1/2 hours this morning, and still after that saw maybe 12 other people the entire day.
Who I met:
Jackson, Nubles (?) and Pubah, three young dudes. Not sure where they’re from or if they knew each other from before. Pubah has thru hiked before and did a great job of explaining the lack of hunger and almost repulsion to eating: your body is in shock and wondering if you’re trying to kill it, so it’s all confused. Makes sense. I’m still not really hungry, but I know it will come.
What I learned:
– Breaks are very necessary, especially early on.
– How to set up a solid tent in gale force winds!
– I have adopted using a pee rag- a bandana I carry with me specifically to blot pee. It’s a revelation.
Today’s hike was powered by beauty and amazement.