Friday, December 10, 2021

Day 25: An Evenstar Surprise!

May 15: I woke up and hit the trail at my usual 7:00am start time. Evenstar was lagging a bit behind, but I figured she'd catch up whenever I took a long break. She always did before! And I definitely planned to take some breaks.

The trail climbed up a steep hillside, which I found hot and exhausting, then eventually descended again toward a cattle-filled meadow. There was an ugly tank of cow water in the distance, but allegedly, there was a spring somewhere up beyond it. So I hiked off trail in search of the spring, trying to give a wide berth to the cattle and the disgusting cow tank where I found another disgusting cow tank along with more cattle. And finally, beyond that, I found what looked like a small concrete bunker that I was sure was the spring. But how do I get into it? I didn't see any hatches or anything, and the heavy concrete lid looked way too heavy to pop off. What the heck?

Then I noticed a rubber hose leading from it about a hundred feet down the meadow and followed it to where fresh, clear water was dribbling out. The line was mostly covered near the concrete box so I hadn't noticed it at first, but now I was on to something! A slow dribble of water poured out from the hose, and it probably took me 15 minutes to get a few liters of water for the rest of the day. It was a little tricky to get the water as well, coming out at a muddy mess and there wasn't much of a drop from the outlet where I could fit by Nalgene bottle to collect the water, and I roasted under the hot sun the whole while.

I had a little trouble getting water from this spring, but eventually I got what I needed and the cold, clear water was delicious! Just catch it before it drips into that mud.

Once I got the water, I immediately headed back to the trail where lots of trees provided shade, then stopped for over an hour to cook a dinner and wait for Evenstar to catch up.

I finished my meal and read my book, but Evenstar never showed, and eventually I picked up my pack and continued onward. She'd be along eventually.

Where there are trees--and there were trees--there are blowdowns. They weren't bad, but one of them managed to rip the crotch of my pants while I was crossing over it. *grumbling* That would be something I'd have to sew up and fix, but it could wait until I reached camp for the night.

I pushed onward, seeing absolutely nobody on the trail all day, and reached Rincon Well late in the day. That had been my goal, the only other water source besides the mid-day water at the cow tanks. The water was from a cow trough, which was better than a muddy cow tank, but it wasn't beautiful spring water so I took the time to filter it, then set up camp in the trees nearby.

Rincon Well

Evenstar dragged herself to the site, finally arriving at 8:00 in the evening--a 13-hour day of hiking for her. Her feet looked terrible too. I don't know how she did it with all those massive blisters. How does she even like hiking?!

She set up camp nearby, then said she had a surprise for me. 

I was skeptical.... what would I possibly want? She'd been hiking all day, and I couldn't imagine wanting a pine cone or a rock or anything. And what else was there?

But no, it wasn't anything like that. During the day, when she had gotten a cell-phone signal, she looked up the text for the sequel to Casey at the Bat: Casey's Revenge. I had recited Casey at the Bat for her several days earlier. By now, Evenstar had heard all of the epic poems that I had memorized, but she happened to have known that Casey at the Bat had a sequel--which I had not known about at all.

So she entertained me with a recital of Casey's Revenge. It was fun being on the other side of a story poem for once! She recited it from inside her tent so I couldn't see her, but I was pretty sure that she was just reading it off her phone. My only (minor) complaint was that she needed to memorize it and recite it from memory next time. =)

I was engrossed with the story, never really sure where it might end up although suspecting it would probably have a happier ending for Casey. Anyhow, it was a much appreciated surprise!

Then I patched up the hole in the crotch of my pants before watching a couple of shows on Netflix and calling it a day.

And thus ended my 25th day our the trail..... (I can say "our" because both Evenstar and I started the trail on the same date.)

Pronghorn antelope!

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