They always say day three is the hardest and by golly that is made truer by hiking all day through the desert. The sun was not forgiving today, and it began warming up the Earth far too early. We even woke up before sunrise to beat the heat. The stars were still illuminated when we woke up and started packing up camp. The sun barely peaking over the mountains in the distant created a spectrum of colors fading into dark navy. The air was chilly but no where near cold. Putting on our packs for the day felt like gravity instantly doubled. As we started walking we found our stride and starting making quick miles.
Following the trail along a dirt road eventually led us to flat desert brush and then to a windmill and water pump. Upon arriving, we decided that clean water could wait till the third cache about 7 miles ahead. So we walked more. Jack rabbits were active during the cooler morning but by late morning we saw nothing but lizards and horny toads. We started working our way up and over rolling hills into a valley and back up again. In the distance we could see a small cliff dwelling "ghost town" bright adobe red and tucked behind a group of hills. We were pretty beat up from the wind and heat so we could not convince ourselves to walk over to them. Instead we kept moving forward forwards the cache. Coming over the last hill led us straight through a flat plain of the driest earth. Other than lizards here and there, nothing was moving in these parts. Still the smallest most delicate looking wildflowers scattered along the way. However, we know from passing through this ground that anything that can live out here is far from delicate.
Arriving at the cache, we had already put in 13 miles by lunch time. It was time to relax and hope for some shade. A scraggly tree would do. Not completely free from the sun but it was better than nothing. Once we finished lunch, rest, and drying our socks out, we put our packs back on and started out to finish another 7 miles. These next several miles were quick but very taxing.
The sun never let up until 6:30 or 7:00pm. We found camp on top of a rocky bald with a 360 view of the valley below and the mountains surrounding us. We rested for a bit while the sun started to ease up, set up camp, and made dinner. Tonight we are cowboy camping under a blanket of stars. We could even see the Milky Way and every freckle in between.
Cheers to the trail and all the chilly and shady thoughts.
Garbelly & ME