Sunrise Trailhead to Scissor’s Crossing
Mile 59.5 to Mile 77.3
I woke this morning to the wind peeking beneath my tent fly and rattling the walls as if to say “Come play with me Johnny” Planning on a long, hot day, I started packing up around 4:45 with the idea I could beat the worst of the heat by walking early. While I was taking down my tent, the wind played the first of its tricks by lifting, tipping the whole thing, and threatening a merry chase across the meadow in what I imagine to be the backpacking equivalent of a ‘Natucket Sleighride’. Fortunately I had left a corner staked so the chase was postponed.
The trail today wound in, around, over, and through more dry hills descending gradually but offering no shade. I had thought today’s challenge was going to be the sun and lack of water. Spurned earlier, the wind returned to foil my favorite umbrella trick. So it became a day of ups and downs of the opening and closing sort until I had to finally admit defeat after a sneak attack snapped one of the umbrella’s spokes. The capricious wind and merciless sun proceeded to punish me for the rest of the day.
Congratulations to Easton! who correctly answered yesterday’s quiz. I indeed left camp this morning lugging 5 liters of water which I drank over the next 9 hours with nary a pee break. Talk about dessication. The sun and wind together were relentless and I imagine my vapor trail prodigious.
Trudging along I was snapped out of my reverie by a thick, copper rattlesnake about 5 feet ahead and uphill on my left. Fortunately her business end was pointed uphill so I passed by safely as she rattled her welcome. My anxious vigiliance ratcheted right back up to 11 and the next mile flew by.
Also today I made my first 10×10, a merit badge of sorts in the hiker community. The idea is to hike 10 miles before 10am. Fortunately my Garmin doesn’t report pulse rate because I had to hustle when I realized I was close.
The trail finally forfeited its elevation to the floor of the San Felipe Valley where the trail crosses Highway 78. Here lies the fabled Scissors Crossing water cache tucked beneath an underpass, the only water source for the next 23 miles. The other option is to hitch a ride into Julian, CA. 50 years old and never having hitchhiked, I promptly stuck out my thumb. It wasn’t long before Steve, a volunteer teacher and desert mountain biker picked me up.
Would you pick this guy up? He is so out of focus. Not sure yet if I will stay here tonight or hitch back to the trail, water supply restored. Stay tuned.