Day 5-6: The desert is a cruel mistress 

Day 5 

0 miles 4/15/17

After putting in 4 nine hour shifts of hiking and covering a total distance of 77 miles we decided to rest our feet and muscles with a well deserved zero day. Matt walked his way into a nice quarter sized blister on the bottom of his foot. By the second day his body refused to reabsorb it so I decided he needed to pierce it and let it drain. After a bit of arguing he finally decided to pop it, probably so I would stop nagging. Luckily I found some epsom salt and rubbing alcohol in the hiker box at the RV park we are staying at to soak his foot in and help aid in the healing process. The next morning when we woke up the blister was gone so all is well in the world as I was right. 

We took a quick trip into the town of Julian, it’s an old mining town that now prides itself as an apple pie capital. I guess Julian has never heard of Washington, which is clearly the apple capital of the WORLD. We picked up some groceries for our next stretch of trail and then headed back to the RV. Before we could even shut the doors to the Jeep June Bug, sick from the curvy drive, vomited on the middle consul, this of course made Matt gag and then become car sick. Good times! 

Dad and June Bug in Julian

Day 6

17.5 Miles PCT mile 94.5

4/16/17 happy birthday mom 

We started the day at 8am with fresh legs and heavy packs. We would soon be entering what my maps claimed to be a long, dry, and hot section. They were right. We each had close to 7 pounds of water as we slowly strode off down the path. The first two miles are the slowest for me as I have to let the tendon in my left foot warm up before the pain dissipates. We knew there would be a lot of elevation gain as we were starting on the valley floor. The climbing began just as quickly as the relentless sun began to shine brightly on our backs. It takes no time for the sun to be unbearably hot but as the day goes on you get somewhat used to it.

Ocotillo patch for my mom

The desert is still rejecting both Matt and I, by the end of each day we have a heat rash covering our legs. We try to beat the sun at its own game but the sun is stronger and more powerful than us. We try to find shade to take breaks in, duck in behind a rock, or if you are lucky find a bush to hide under for a few minutes. Keeping 90% of my body covered is the only way to fool the sun. 
A dead barrel cactus brings new life
Ridge after ridge

Today was a bit of a slog fest for me. My feet hurt and I seemed to be missing a certain spark in my step. Each time we took a break today we would take off our shoes and socks and let our feet breathe. It was a lifesaver. I thought I was having a bad day until I saw a young polish kid walking in his socks. Turns out his feet are covered in blisters so he decided, why keep wearing what was causing the pain. I actually don’t know what his rationale was as he speaks very little English and had no interest in being helped. Matt offered Socks (this is the kids new trail name) his flip flops but he refused. Soon we saw him walking back up the trail with no socks on! Not sure how long you are gonna make it with no shoes or socks as the ground is littered with cactus’ trying to poke you. 

At 14 miles there was a water cache a 1/4 mile off the trail that wonderful people stock for us thristy hikers. The best part was that the water was not boiling hot like the water in my water bottles.

Take me to the water

We enjoyed a nice break here in the shade and debated about where we would camp. We  wanted to get 20 miles in so that we could have an “easy” day tomorrow but the ridges we were waking along made this impossible. There were few campsites and we knew we couldn’t make it 10 more miles to the magical campsites at barrel springs. I half thought we could as I was feeling rejuvenated from our break but I knew we would run out of daylight. We set off at 4:30 and found a nice but windy campsite several miles down the trail. 

Home for the night, we even have internet

We made our Easter dinner which consisted of fajita rice a roni for Matt and I had teriyaki ramen which I made into pad Thai by adding peanut butter and coconut powder. It was wonderful. 

Soon after we set up our tent a neighbor strode in and camped near us. He said a rattlesnake rattled at him not far from our camp. It was probably Steves cousin Jimmy but we can’t be sure. 

7 thoughts on “Day 5-6: The desert is a cruel mistress 

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