Day 41: I’m Back!

5/21/17 24 miles PCT Mile 628.0

Well much to Matt’s chagrin I’m back. I feel good and my energy level is near normal. This means I’m back to setting goals and trying to keep Matt on task. I feel good but my legs and feet are still sore. I thought 3 days off would produce legs of steel, but this did not occur. The immediate uphill out of Tehachapi is probably to blame. It’s hard to have it all out here. In a typical day I might feel great in the morning, sluggish in the afternoon, and then rebound in the evening. Matt and I hardly ever feel great at the same time, I’m sure one of these days it will happen. There is always some nagging pain or the sheer weight of water and food that will slow you down. 

We were both tired this morning as the screeching animal I believe to be a mountain lion yelped as we were trying to sleep. I laid awake for awile being scared of the unknown in the darkness before I drifted off to sleep. As we set off today I was feeling quite optimistic as we strolled through a Pine and Fir forest. I was thinking this is gonna be a great day we will be in a shaded forest all day. How wonderful!

Matt’s favorite lunch item
Filtering in the forest
I should have known better because Matt was saying how we had a large descent and these would all be smile miles. As we descended it became clear what was happening we were headed for the barren Mojave.

Heading back to the desert

The only reprieve would be a lone Joshua Tree here and there. Around 2pm in the heat of the day we were in the desert. We wouldn’t climb back up to a forest like setting for over 15 miles. It was probably close to 90 as we slowly set off heading east. I fastened my umbrella to my pack and lifelessly walked with my head down trying not to get my heart rate up too high. We covered just under 4 miles in 2 hours through rolling terrain. At 4pm we sought shade next to a bunch of cow pies under a Joshua Tree. 

Joshua Tree fruiting

As we laid there with our feet propped up trying to reverse the swelling a large cloud from the north blew in and blocked the heat from the sun. It was magical. Inspired by this new found shade I nudged at matt and said, “we better go.” So we did, we walked 7 more miles as the sun began to set behind the hills. This was our first sunset on the trail. 

Sunset

We were both getting tired as it was nearly 8pm but we were on ridges with no suitable campsites. We found a spot that would work next to a Joshua Tree but the wind was howling making tent setup problematic. Eventually, we got the tent up only to see that it was to close to a prickly Joshua Tree branch. This site was no good. Exhausted from the long hot day we began to argue, each throwing a mini tantrum. We had to move on and find a better spot. Matt angrily packed up and we walked with headlamps on down the trail. I thought in a half mile there was a flatter spot we could camp at. When we got there it was completely dark and we found a semi flat patch of earth where we could cowboy camp. It was a warm night so there was no need for a tent anyways. We both quickly ate our chili for dinner and fell asleep around 10pm under the stars. 

Sunrise

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