May 17, 2017: Hiked Miles 527.7 to 549.7 (22.0 total)
Didn’t get to bed til after 12:30 last night after getting into camp late and staying up to write my blog and binging on sugar. And then the wind tried to blow us away all night and even with ear plugs in it was very hard to sleep. And of course I woke up at 6 on the dot still. I got out of the tent to go pee, walked 30 feet and found a ditch we could have slept in with almost no wind. Of course we couldn’t see it last night. Just our luck.
The air was damp and the clouds looked menacing.
Eventually our walk on the aqueduct ended and we started a long slow climb through the grassy hills towards the dark clouds and the mountains.
Finally we climbed one last big hill and then made our way down the other side into a canyon where we stopped for lunch and filled up on water from a little creek.
The creek water felt really warm which I was a little confused by. Either we had found some kind of natural hot spring, my hands were just freezing from the cold and wind, or there were a hundred hikers peeing upstream from us. Either way, we filtered it and drank it and we’re fine.
We ate lunch with a group of four other hikers who we’ve started to see every day since we all hike about the same pace. This meant lots of snack sharing. Scored some Gatorade powder, Swedish Fish, dried fruit and chocolate covered almonds and we gave them some Chips Ahoy and leukotape. I feel like I’m back in elementary school again when you always want everyone else’s food. Luckily hikers are very giving people and we all share and help people out without expecting anything in return. It works out well because if there is something important that you have lost of run out of or don’t have, chances are someone out here has it. And we all are in need at some point so people are always more than willing to help out. Unless you run out of food everyday.. then we might start questioning your motives.
After lunch we had a nice easy 3.5 miles, still in the wind of course, and then started the craziest 4.5 mile climb to date. The trail started to switchback up a mountain and the wind slowly got stronger and stronger. We looked back to the hill we had just ran down at one point, which is always so comical to see how often we walk down one hill just to walk back up the one right next to it.
By the time we got close to the top we were literally doing everything we could to not fall over or get swept off the mountain with each step. I have never been in wind so intense for so long. Colton kept looking back because I’m sure he expected to see me flying into a tree or rolling down the hill. Every once in a while, the wind would let up for a second and I could take my focus off the ground and get to see some amazing views
We only had a half mile to go to our tentsite so we shuffled on. Shuffled, flew, and tumbled I should say. But when we got there it was just as windy. I think some of the gusts wete probably 60 to 70 miles an hour.
We threw our bags down and ran around until we found what seemed to be the most protected place from the wind. But that didn’t stop our tent from blowing away, stakes and all, about five times before we got it set up. Eventually we threw all our gear inside and stacked enough rocks on the stakes to get it to stay down. Dinner was definitely cooked inside our rainfly and then we stuffed our faces with junk food to make up for all the energy we lost today in our losing battle to the wind.
He gets weird when he eats too many Oreos.