Sunday, June 6, 2010

Charging the Windmills

May 13: I was one of the last to leave our camp near I-10, but I still got a fairly early start. Only Dan was left, or Danimal, as he was sometimes called. He looked dead in his sleeping bag, with an empty beer can next to him.

"Hey, Dan," I asked, "You there?"

He flopped around a bit, and I felt better knowing that I wouldn't be leaving behind a dead body.

"Looks like you had a wild night," I said to him, pointing at the beer can.

He squinted at it, then replied, "Fuck! Something else for me to carry out!" He seemed to wake up a bit, looked around, then continued, "I don't even remember drinking that."

Bummer. Carrying a beer around, and now having to carry a beer can around, and not even getting the enjoyment of remembering how it tasted.

Anyhow, now that I felt that Dan was well enough to be left on his own, I hit the trail. I reached Interstate 10 after a half hour of walking, at around 7:00 in the morning, and was already sweating bullets. It was gonna be a hot day.... The trail crosses under several bridges by Interstate 10 for trains, traffic, and who knows what else, but someone had left a couple of coolers with drinks, water, and a register which I stopped to make use of. The register was the first chance I had to figure out where all my early trail buddies were on the trail--or rather, how far ahead of me they were. It looked like most hikers had skipped Fuller Ridge completely, doing the road walk instead, and that gave them an extra couple of days ahead of me. At this point, I figure I'll never see them again unless they take a zero day or two up ahead on the trail.

The trail went by some scary-looking properties with junk cars and gave me a bad feeling of Alabama. I could even see three dogs running loose in the streets, and I hoped the trail skirted around the neighborhood rather than through it, which I'm happy to report that it does. But I didn't feel all that comfortable walking through the area either.

Then the trail went up into a wind farm. We could see the wind farm for the last 20 miles of trail, but we finally reached them, allowing us close up views of those giant turbines. A sign pointed out that water and shade was to be had at a nearby building, but I didn't need water and wanted to push through as much as possible during the morning before it got really hot, so I passed up the shade as well. Later, I would learn they had Klondike Bars available for thru-hikers, at which point I promptly regretted not stopping. =( Ice cream sure would have been nice.....

The wildflowers seemed to be wilting and dieing in the heat as well. It was the first time I really noticed wildflowers well past their prime, and this section of trail had a severe lack of shade. It was exhausting, but I trudged on, finally stopping under a tree for lunch.

The heat put me in a rather foul mood. I just wasn't feeling very perky today, and hiking just felt like a job. Blah.

Another couple of miles down the trail, I had a brief respite at a river crossing--impossible to cross without getting ones feet wet--and I charged through not caring that my feet were getting wet. It felt nice. Several other hikers had stopped there for an extended break as well, soaking their feet and swimming in the river.

I finally stopped at a campsite along Mission Creek for the evening, where I ate dinner with Swazey and Dinosaur. By the creek, the bugs seemed worse, and after battling off a few mosquitoes, I pulled out my mosquito net and went to sleep. I need to camp further away from water and get away from the mosquitoes, but in this steep valley, I didn't have much of a choice.


Anonymous said...

Did you feel like Don Quixote, charging those windmills?

Enjoying your blog, Ryan -- interested at the delay you've built into your blog, where we read about your experiences 3 weeks after you've had them. I'm guessing this is for your safety, as there's no telling WHO might stumble upon your blog and try to find you on the trail. (Warning... Wassa is rumored to be coming here to So. Cal. for a visit.) Makes me want to drag my family out for another hike. First, they have to get over the one I took them on, over Memorial Day weekend. They thought they were gonna die. I'm not sure why -- I'm in no better shape than they, but I was feeling energetic all the way! Okay... baby steps for the family.... May God continue to protect you and give you strength... and may you thoroughly enjoy the journey.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Seems like that river was a sort of Trail Magic, placed there to lift one's spirits during such a hot, shadeless, uninspiring stretch of trail.
Sure looked refreshing, too.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers