Immediately after Snow Creek, we had to cross a wide, hot valley then pass under I-10. Knowing how hot it got during the day, we decided to do this stretch early in the morning, so we set the alarm clocks for 4:30 am! We left Tracker and Lance’s place at 5:15 and hiked by headlamp for half an hour up a dry creek bed.
We walk under road and rail
hoping our legs don’t fail
too early for beer, but glad that it’s here
now time to get back on the trail!
After three miles we came to the well know trail angels Ziggy and the Bear. They have been hosting hikers for years and we stopped in for a few minutes to see what it was like. Although it was already 8:30, we were surprised at the number of hikers who were still there. I thought everyone would have gotten an early start like us, but I suppose everyone hikes their own hike. It was a bit of a strange scene, with a huge canopy in the backyard and carpets on the ground. There were tents set up and clothes drying while people ate breakfast and treated their feet. The Bear was a nice, older gentleman and thought we were going to spend the night there. He was surprised when we said we were moving on.
From there we climbed up through some pretty barren hills as the temperature slowly climbed higher and higher. The scenery wasn’t the most interesting to look at but we passed some wind farms which was pretty cool to see so up close.
Around noon I dropped down a huge hill and came to a wide, rocky wash with a small stream flowing through it. As the trail edged closer to the water, we came closer to vegetation and cooler temps. Finally, I rounded a corner and came upon some shade from a bluff and a few small trees. Finally, a wonderful rest stop!
Horizon, Merkel, and I hung out in the shade, resting for several hours after getting up so early and after a while three other guys came up the trail and rested with us as well. They were the Jolly Green Giant, Magic Man, and Fox Trot and they had met on the trail when they started on April 6. We had a three day head start on them, but they overtook us around mile 220. I thought we were moving quickly, but they made us seem slow! They had been hiking 25 mile days from the start, which explained how they caught us so quickly. Although they were the first hikers to pass us, I’m sure they won’t be the last. When they left our lunch spot before us, I thought we would never see them again, but I would later be proven wrong on that.
When we finally dragged ourselves away from our lovely lunch spot, we followed Mission Creek for the rest of the day which made the surroundings more interesting, but the hiking a bit more difficult since sometimes the trail and the creek coincided, necessitating some route finding. Considering this was the first major water source we had seen since the border, I wasn’t about to complain about any of it! We found a very comfortable campsite right next to the creek and set up camp early enough to enjoy a game of dice before going to sleep.