Friday, July 2, 2010
The Miserable Road Walk....
We left our packs hidden behind a bush by the side of the road and slackpacked up to where we were picked up by Dezert Ratty the evening before, then walked back to our packs. So at least we could hike for a good ten minutes without any backpacks at all, which was nice.
At the first place we stopped to rest, Charmin pulled out the bag lunch admiring the Bear Claw Lorraine put in it. I don't think Charmin had ever seen a Bear Claw before. She looked at it from all directions, then read the label, noting it's 400 calories and saying, "That's AWESOME!" Which I couldn't help but laugh at. It's not often you see a girl who's excited about consuming 400 useless calories. =)
A couple of hours into our hike, a car pulled over asking us about information on the trail. He had been stopped by a hiker a short ways ahead of us (we assumed it was probably Running Wolf, who was the only person we knew about that was immediately ahead of us), and the hiker was asking about how to get to Agua Dulce. Charmin and I laughed. That Running Wolf.... he keeps getting himself lost, and still ends up on the right trail! (Later, when we did catch up to Running Wolf, he said it wasn't him. But we still tease him about hiking seven miles into the detour and not even realizing it.)
So we stopped for lunch, perhaps a bit early for the day, but shade was scarce. Make use of it while you can!
We sat by the edge of the creek, kicked off our shoes, and ate lunch. I had just filled up with water a half-mile back on the trail where a creek crossed the road, but it wasn't the best looking of water sources. Lots of places upstream where it could have been contaminated. This little creek we were by now seemed like it was a better option for water. So I poured out what I had collected before and filled up at the creek.
But here's the thing. I had already taken off my shoes, and I didn't really want to try getting down to the water level to fill up with water. I didn't even want to stand up. So I took a rope, tied it to my Nalgene bottle, then threw it into the creek from where I sat, slowly pulling it back with the rope. I was "fishing" for water, which Charmin seemed to think was pretty bizarre, but at least somewhat amusing.
"Uhh.... Sure.... Okay...." I hoped Amanda would never find out about this. It's not as bad as it sounds. Really! =) I helped Charmin get her arm sleeves on, managing to poke myself once with the safety pin, but not managing to poke her in the process. That really should have been her trail name--Safety Pin. I've never met a hiker who carries more safety pins than Charmin. She must have a couple of dozen of them, pinned all over her clothes. On her shirt, on the cuff of her pants, on her shorts--all of her clothing has a handful of safety pins stuck in them. I'm still not sure what all they're used for, but if you ever need a blister popped, she can certainly help!
Charmin and I got ahead of Running Wolf without even realizing it. He went off the trail briefly to replace a broken camera at a nearby Wal-Mart. He called a taxi to pick him up from off the trail, made a quick run into town, then took the taxi back. I was pleased when I learned this, because I put the taxi idea into his head. He was originally going to try to find a bus or walk to the Wal-Mart, if necessary, and I said a taxi might be faster and more convenient. (Albeit, more expensive too.) He liked that idea so much, though, he actually used it.
So I suggested let's take a look at the dirt road before making any commitments. We hiked on, and I nearly passed the dirt road without even realizing it. Actually, I *did* pass the dirt road, then backtracked about 50 feet when I realized I had overlooked it.
It was getting late in the day as well and we would need a place to camp soon, and the wheels in my head started clicking. Along this road would be an awesome place to camp--as long as there was water nearby. Charmin and I both needed more water before we could stop. The paved road would have been a miserable place to stealth camp. Certainly possible, but every passing car would wake us up during the night. So I told Charmin, "If we find water along this road, let's camp there."
And we did find water. It was a small creek, near the end of the dirt road. The wind was quite strong, so we followed the creek upstream a bit trying to find a place with a bit of wind protection. On the way, Charmin found an onion growing, and had to stop long enough to dig it up. Charmin's at it again, grazing off the land like a cow. I'll tell you this, however--if I were ever stranded in the woods without any food, there's absolutely nobody I'd rather have around than Charmin. She can find food anywhere! That little farmer girl from Switzerland knows more about edible plants in California than I do!
"It's not going to have much taste to it," she warned me. I popped it in my mouth, and agreed, it was pretty tasteless. Tasted nothing like an onion.
We set up camp, in a burnt out area of the Station Fire. It looked like there used to be trees providing shade and wind protection, but they had all burned in the fire. A few grasses and flowers sprouted in the area of an otherwise wasteland of charred remains. It was beautiful, in a desolate kind of way. And perhaps the best stealth campsite ever on a road walk!
Posted by Ryan at 10:00 AM