After getting a ride from Julian back to the trail, Eric and I hung out in the shade for a while, waiting for Dead weight, Merkel, and Pre-meta to catch up (they were in town, eating pie). A guy we had seen the previous night came up, looking beat. He said his buddy had to go home because of blisters and a bad ankle, but he was going to carry on. I think quite a few people have already dropped out, or at least they have not caught up to us.
Once the crew was together, we hiked up a huge hill until we found a campsite that was protected from the wind. The five of us had dinner together then slept out under the stars. I saw two shooting stars before drifting off to sleep.
The next day the trail slowly increased in elevation by following the contours of the hills. At times you could look out and see the trail winding out into the distance miles away. Then you would head into a gully and slowly make your way out again. It was cool and windy and the trail was rock free and gentle uphill. I was flying.
In the early afternoon we took a short detour to a water cache to fill up. You should never rely on the caches because they could be out, but this one was well stocked so I didn’t feel too bad taking one liter.
In the afternoon I hiked with Pensioner and Sage and our conversation quickly carried us 10 miles. During that time we passed mile 100!
It felt really good to hike that far in five days. The terrain had also changed a lot during that time. We had passed out of the undulating hills of cactus and into hills covered with bushes and small trees. At one point Sage pointed out an edible plant called Miner’s lettuce and we all had a small snack. It was a bit tart because it was already flowering, but it was quite tasty.
I took a long break at another water stop, after hiking 22 miles and watched as nearly everyone I passed that day came in. At first I was surprised that some of them made it that far, but it was the only water for 10 miles so it was a logical stop.
At 6:30 pm, Eric and I decided to hike a bit more, hoping for a site that was more protected from wind and possible rain. We hiked another four miles through private land that was a series of meadows separated by small hills. With the setting sun and clouds on the horizon, it was really special.
We found Pensioner and Sage at a camp site next to the best flowing stream we’ve seen yet and set up there for the night.
I also got a trail name today: Epic.