The time that has passed since my last post has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. We rested at the Budpharm for a couple of days while Anne prepared to leave. We said our goodbyes to Anne and wished her well, then Sierra, Dan and I hiked out and onward.
Sierra, after completing eight miles gave in to her pains and made the difficult decision to leave the trail and allow her body to heal. Dan (now trail named Ant Farm after eating infested Fritos) and I pressed onward. We summited Mount Baden Powell that evening, at 9339 feet in elevation, it was named for the founder of Boy Scouting. The following morning we were greeted with trail magic, not once, but twice. It was a real score and boost to our morale after the loss of our friends and hiking partners and the difficult uphill climb. The following day we still decided to take some time for our mental health and go to breakfast. We hiked two miles down the highway to a local biker bar and eatery. There we were able to meet up with my old friend Michelle who drove in to bring us wine, snacks and a great day of conversation. She also kindly drove us to McDonalds and dropped us back on the trail. It was a real treat seeing her after having not for several years. We are hopeful she will come join us for a night or two on trail in the future. Renewed, we hit the trail again.
The heat was close to unbearable throughout the next few days forcing us to hike later into the evening and siesta in the shade through the hot afternoon hours. We got to see Vasquez rocks, famous from Star Wars, Westworld and countless other shows and movies. As well as what I assume was a movie set in a nearby valley where they had several vehicles, half a plane and we got to see an explosion. We hiked the next section of the trail to Hiker Heaven where we rested for a few hours and were rewarded with showers and fresh laundry before heading out once more. I made the mistake of consuming a twelve inch meat lovers pizza before leaving town and spent the next several hours projectile vomiting up the mountain due to the heat. I experienced some gastrointestinal distress and realized I lost my poop trowel.
The next day we set off in the morning and found shade around noon to rest. We were awoken from our afternoon siesta by another hiker who informed us a wildfire had broken out in the section we had just hiked and we should get moving if we did not want to burn alive. We quickly gathered our things and continued the climb and then descent to safety in the hottest part of the day. Exhausted and low on water we found a campsite around five and called it a night. We awoke at five AM and hit the trail while it was cool enough to do so. We hiked the last four miles to our next water source and downed several liters each. Tonight we are resting at Casa De Luna, a “hippie daycare” set up at a local trail angels house in Green Valley. My love affair with the desert is over, I am ready to be done with Southern California and to reach the Sierras where shade and water are plentiful and the temperature is more manageable. We still have to hike the LA Aqueduct and Mohave which will most definitely be the most harsh and challenging sections we have experienced so far. As it stands now we are looking at a several long water carries to finish the desert, including one stretch of 42 miles with no water source. I am hopeful water caches will be refilled prior and we will not have to carry quite so much weight. Time will tell.