… Furnace. Hot as balls. Hot as a furnace. Hot as Satan’s asshole. Hot as an oven. Hot as lava. Hot as fuck. Sorry for the swearing but damn, it’s hot. When we were on the AT our rule of thumb was if it forecasted for 10% chance of rain we knew that meant 100% chance of rain. Out here the rule of thumb so far is take whatever temperature they predict and ten degrees to it. I don’t understand where they are forecasting for… The top of a windy mountain? The inside of an air conditioned room? Because this week was supposed to have a high of 84 and it’s been nothing but mid nineties.
Yesterday we left Lake Morena early and walked through the most beautiful Oak filled meadow as the sun came up. But by the time it was blistering hot the trees were gone and we were on a windless hillside, trudging along a mellowly graded trail. Things continued to get more and more desperate, with every turn in the trail revealing no shade until finally, we could see trees up ahead. We rolled into a shallow ravine and threw ourselves down to sleep for the afternoon. The plan had been to stay for the afternoon and hike out around four when it started to cool off. But then I got bored around three and convinced everyone we would be fine if we left a little bit early.
We were not fine. It was so hot. Balls hot. Hot as fuck. About two miles before we reached camp we started running out of water. We saw two rattlesnakes. We huddled in the shade of small bushes and cursed my name for making us leave our shady oasis. Finally we made it to camp, where it immediately began to cool off.
Pushing boundaries can be good, but it can also be dangerous. I feel like I know more about the desert after yesterday. More about what it is capable of. More about what we are capable of. It was a good lesson and one that we would learn eventually, no doubt. After filtering way too much water out of a puddle of a stream (when you run out of water you tend to overcompensate when you get to water) we had a pleasant dinner and had to say goodbye to Michael, who we have been hiking with for the past three days. His Grampa is living his last few days back in Ohio and Michael flew out today to go say goodbye. We will miss him and we hope he makes it back soon. It is amazing what two days on trail feels like. It feels like we have known Michael for a lifetime, but we may very well never see him again. That is the beauty and fluidity of being out there. You treat everything like it might end tomorrow, you take advantage of every moment, you live very fully.
Today we are trying to be smarter, even though we have more miles to cover than we did yesterday. Yesterday was a 17.7 day, today is a 21.something day. Currently we are holed up at an extremely pleasant picnic area that has water and picnic tables and shade and breezes. Tomorrow we head into Julian where we are determined to find a margarita. That is where we leave Steph and Simon, and head off to Warner Springs to pick up Cameron. It will be sad to say goodbye to Simon and Steph, we have so many amazing memories with them, we have rythm and farts and an understanding that is special amongst hiking friends. I am so glad they were here for this and I honestly think it made this first part easier to have them. Instead of just two minds trying to figure everything out we had four seasoned hikers to think things through. I wish they could stay and keep hiking with us.