Gwita Morka!" I told Charmin when I first saw her stirring in the morning. I was pretty impressed that I actually got to use this phrase for a second time. I almost never hike with anyone for more than 24 hours, and I didn't really expect to get a second usage out of it.
Charmin wished me a "guetä morgä" in return. While eating breakfast and breaking down camp, a blizzard of other hikers passed by: Half-ounce, Sticky Fingers, Abby Normal, 10 Spot, and the two sisters (whose names I can never seem to remember). Where did all of these people hide out the night before?! I had no idea that any of them were anywhere in the area. But as each one passed our campsite, I'd yell out, "gwita morka!" in my American accent. I'm sure they all thought I was insane, but a funny thing happened.... I actually ended up memorizing the phrase in the process. I'd never have to look up the pronunciation again. =)
I left camp before Charmin did. We both hike faster when hiking alone. I told her I planned to take a long two or three hour break in the middle of the day for lunch and to wait out the heat of the day at a small creek up the trail, and I'd save a place for her. Then I was off!
Silverwood Lake, and the dam that actually held back an actual body of water. The lake was very scenic, even if the day was warming up to an uncomfortable level.
I day dreamed for much of the day. I imagined that nobody would ever starve to death in the desert if only someone wrote The Lizard Lover's Cookbook: 101 Ways to Cook a Lizard. The damn things were everywhere. You couldn't walk ten feet without seeing another lizard skittering away. For the most part, however, there's not much to report about today's hiking. It was nice, but hot.
At the small creek I planned to stop at for lunch, shade--at first--appeared quite scarce, but I found a small spot immediately next to and upstream from the creek under the trees. The open space was perhaps only four or five feet high, so I had to crouch under it, and there was only enough space under it in the shade for about two people. Very cramped, but by golly, it was shade, and I took it. It actually hides you pretty well from the trail itself, and isn't visible until your standing just a couple of feet away from it directly at the creek.
Perhaps a half hour went by, when I heard someone shouting, "Tortuga!" from up the trail. It was Charmin, wondering where I was. I said I'd stop here, though I did say that if there wasn't shade at the creek, I'd probably continue on until I found shade. She didn't see me, though, and must have thought I continued on. I yelled up to come on down to the creek, that there was still room for her, and she filled up the other half of the pocket of shade.
I filled up my water bottle with water from the creek and started drinking from it without bothering to treat the water. Which surprised Charmin. "Where would it likely be contaminated?" I asked her. There's no development above us. Technically, of course, any water source can be contaminated--heck, you even hear the occasional report of tap water and bottled water being contaminated with something--but I don't treat that water either. So if there's no reason to suspect that water is contaminated, I don't usually treat it.
Which is when Charmin said that a snake probably pooped in the water upstream.
It takes some imagination to kill two or three hours in the middle of the hottest part of the day, which is when I learned about another one of Charmin's talents: She can draw. Quite well, in fact. Her journal is packed full of sketches and drawings of stuff she's seen along her hike, so I pretended to take a nap while she drew a picture of me. I was pretending to nap, but actually did fall asleep for about five minutes during the process. She didn't much like the drawing, but I thought it was a remarkably good likeness in such a short period of time.
After our lunch break ended, we left the little enclosure and the smog in the valley outside was terrible! The sky was pretty clear and blue when I stopped for lunch, and I was amazed at how fast the smog could roll in, and so thickly. It seemed thick enough to cut with a knife. "LA smog," I told her, my best guess. Perhaps the wind changed and funneled the smog in our direction. (The next day, we would learn that there was a fire somewhere in the area and that the smoke was actually from the fire--not the infamous LA smog. Not this time, at least!)
After lunch, I pulled ahead of Charmin again. We both decided to hike out to a small creek less than a mile away from I-15 to camp for the night, pulling off my first 20 mile day. So the limp isn't slowing me down--just making the hike a little more painful. Especially downhill. Especially steep downhills, like going down to I-15.
My guidebook said that the campsite was a short ways past some power lines. When I first saw power lines, I thought I was making great time. Sweet! Almost there! But no, I sadly had to admit, I couldn't have traveled that fast. There must be another set of power lines involved.
Eventually I reached the second set of power lines, thrilled that I was almost to camp... until I saw another set of power lines further off in the distance. Freakin' hell, I thought. How many power lines do they need out here?!
The third set of power lines seemed to be the lucky number, though, and Charmin and I found the creek and a campsite nearby to set up. This time, I did treat the water I drank. There were train tracks, I-15, roads, businesses, and all sorts of development up stream. It wasn't "good" water, in my opinion, so I treated it this time. I'd just have soon as skipped it if it were possible, but I was out of water. It wasn't a time to be fussy. Anyhow, what if a snake pooped in the water upstream? A real possibility.....
The campsite was terrible, really. We could hear the highway traffic all night long, and trains rumbling in the distance. I actually liked the sounds of rumbling trains, but the highway traffic I could have done without. But we were still far enough away from the road that at least it wasn't loud traffic. Just the muffled noise of a distant highway. But it was noisy, and the water nowhere near as pure as I would have liked it. But you make do, and I made do.