I woke up this morning under a bridge for the first time in my life. I doctored a newly-forming blister. I ate cold oats, packed my bag, filled my water bottles from the cache and was on my way.
The trail out of Scissors Crossing was a steady climb- up up up into the mountains from which I descended yesterday, but now the plants seem to have changed. There are barrel cactuses and what appears to be an aloe relative with giant stalks that look like asparagus. The cactuses also now have painful spines that stick in your skin as my leg discovered after getting a bit too friendly with the edge of the trail.
The sun was out but it was windy, making for drastic temperature changes as I wound up switchbacks and around ridges. As the day wore on, it got really hot and all I wanted was a bit of shade. Out in this sun I get really hot really quickly and it gives me a splitting headache until I cool down, so around 11 I was desperately in need of something to hide under. The only thing I could find was big rock jutting out just enough to cast a bit of a shadow. I curled up under in and ate my cold-soaked pasta lunch.
Once I cooled down, I got backon the trail and was shortly met by a hiker named Eric. He was the only person I had seen since leaving the bridge and we paced fairly well together so we tromped on until we found the Third Gate water cache, a real savior in this long dry stretch.
We get down to the cache and who is lounging there but my bridge troll buddies! They were just about to leave so I wished them well, filled my bottles and plopped down in the shade. Eric left and I relaxed alone, enjoying the solitude. I saw what looked like a fox with black-tipped ears trotting away from me. I wish that I was more knowledgeable about the wildlife in this part of the country because it really is magnificent. I gathered my things and got back on the trail for some late afternoon miles.
Less than a mile from the water cache, I saw something across the trail. Rattlesnake. I stopped a few feet away and it moved slightly to one side so I began to walk around the other side, giving it a wide berth. Suddenly it spun around, coiling up and lifting its head in my direction and I did NOT now that I could move so fast at the end of the day! I scurried away with a suddenly much higher heart rate but no worse for wear.
I kept hiking for a few more miles and found a lovely campsite on a ridge protected by some scrubby trees. The view was wonderful, overlooking a town in a huge valley and the surrounding mountains as the sun set behind some stormy-looking clouds. My dinner of jambalaya and cup of cocoa were incredibly comforting. I did some yoga and thoroughly enjoyed my evening of solitude with a view.
Trail magic: 0
Blisters: 1 (new)
Items lost: 0 (new)
Hiked with: Eric for maybe an hour, mostly alone
Camped with: no one