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Posts Tagged ‘Sunset’

Since we had woken up at 4am and hiked all day, we planned to stop at sunset again to allow ourselves to catch up on sleep again. We had seen another spot around 11,000 feet on the map and were aiming for that before we soared up to another set of ridgelines. At that point, 11,000 feet had begun to seem low.

All four of us hiked slightly different paces toward the end of the day and had spread out a bit before camp. About a mile before the spot we wanted to check out for campsites, I saw a trail split. Remembering that we no longer had the Colorado Trail with it’s signs, wide trail, and easy grades, I stopped and checked Guthook to make sure. A well trod path extended slightly to the right and a spur broke off the to left and looked distinctly less traveled. I knew we were supposed to stay contouring for a bit and the well traveled path looked like it went straight down into the valley. Sure enough, Guthook noted a junction and that we needed to stay left on the less noticeable trail.

I plodded along and found Crosby sitting on his pack by a water source reading a book. I sat for a bit and we found ED, but no Memphis. Continuing to the spot we thought about camping, we found good spots and set up. Still no Memphis.

E.D.: Do you think he took the wrong turn back there?

Me: Maybe, that was not an easy one to catch.

Crosby: Memphis would like sitting down at a fire if he did take the wrong turn. Let’s get one going.

Campfire

We set about doing so, got it going and began eating when we saw his blaze orange hunting vest draped over his pack. We “cooed” to get his attention and he beelined for the fire. He plopped down.

Memphis: I went down that horse trail back there. I went…down. About 1,000 feet down.

The sky changed colors as the sun went down over the ridge and we eventually migrated to our tents and I convinced everyone to get up early again to make the miles we needed to get to the road at a decent time. We had contacted Karla, per Karma’s recommendation, and given her a day that we should get to Wolf Creek Pass, but we hadn’t had any cell service to give a more accurate ETA.

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The other side of the sunset from the campfire.

In the morning, we all got up a little slower, but started hiking upward immediately again. We hiked along a ridge and crept up to the highest point left in this section and sat to watch the sunrise. The whole sky and tree cover below had an orange glow. It seemed magical. It got more magical when we noticed we had several bars of cell service and LTE.

Good morning!

Right as I was wondering if 6:15 am was too early to message Karla, she messaged me. We gave her an ETA at the pass and she said either she or Mark would be there and to keep her updated.

We also got an email from Frodo who was organizing a finishing party for Scout in Chama the following evening. She said she’d be willing to come get us from Pagosa Springs and drop us back off. We responded back with a “yes, please!”

Last but not least, I found texts from The Darkness. It read:

The Darkness: I’m Creede Cut-Offing for you all. See you somewhere around Wolf Creek Pass or Chama at the latest.

We texted back our plan while we let the sunrise warm us. The trail meandered down and all around smaller ridges, a few lakes, and then went tantalizingly close to the road, but not down to Wolf Creek Pass for several miles.

At the bottom of the pass, we found a cooler with sodas. We had one while we waited for Mark to pick us up. We did not have to wait long and Mark didn’t even seem to mind our smell! He knew we would want food first and suggested the Mexican restaurant in town. Karla met us there and we all ate plenty of delicious food.

They took us home and let us shower and helped us with laundry. It was such a nice change to be in a house instead of our go to cheap motels. It was topped off by sleeping in the man-cave and some a-mazing pancakes in the morning! It’d be hard to beat the trail magic from Karla and Mark.

Karla brought us over to Riff Raff Brewery where we found Axel and Let It Be having a beer. We joined while we waited for Frodo. After a group picture and big hugs from Karla, we all jumped in Benny, the van Frodo was using up and down the CDT.

Photo Credit: Axel

She brought us to a motel in Chama where we found Scout, Whistle (who we hadn’t seen since Lincoln, MT around mile 300), Guy-on-a-buffalo, Apache, and Wonderer. So much of Scout and Frodo’s family joined and it was a fantastically supportive group of people. We were later joined by Ridgerunner and K2 as well who had finished their flip a few days prior.

There was dinner, cake, root beer floats, and some beer. Scout and Frodo were so gracious to come get us, too. A lot of us stayed up late talking and were a little slow to move in the morning. We did eventually figure out rides for who needed to get where and were unsuccessful at convincing Whistle to take several zeros and wait for us.

When we got dropped off back at Wolf Creek Pass, we realized The Darkness had skipped town there and had gotten about 5-7 miles ahead of us. After some quick texting back and forth with a horrible picture of a dead creature on the side of the trail, we had a plan.

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**From September 2015**

While we all enjoyed the lunar eclipse and the stars, none of us had slept well. It was definitely a two caffeine packet type of day. The first of which occurred as soon as we all had walked sufficiently to warm ourselves up. We crossed a high plateau full of little pools of water.

Bye, Colorado Trail.

At the end of the plateau, the trail split. To the right: the Colorado Trail full of nicely groomed and maintained switchbacks which make for a very elegant photo. To the left: the CDT where the trail immediately becomes less trodden, signage goes away, and the trail goes straight down, not bothering with switchbacks. Alas, the CDT’s fling with the CT had ended and we were back to navigating again.

We came across a remote trailhead with a register. Axel was still ahead of us. We saw that Whistle, Scout, Guy-on-a-buffalo, Apache, and Wonderer were not too far ahead of us. Probably about four days ahead.

The San Juans were really too beautiful to put into words, so some of these posts will be shorter with more pictures, however, even the pictures don’t always give them the justice they deserve. Everywhere, we saw a view. Everywhere, new peaks arose. Everywhere, alpine flowers still held blossoms. Herds of elk roamed about. If we couldn’t see them, we heard them bugling at night.

We saw one of the best sunsets on trail from a crazy cool ridge that had a beautiful trail carved in it. After we snacked and watch the sun set, we meandered on top of the ridge to a saddle which we called home for a night.

No explanation needed.

The morning brought a cold climb up to a ridge with neat rock formations. One of which was labeled as “the window” on the map whereby Ley had a sketchy dotted line through it if you wanted an extra adventure.

The “window” from the south side.

We had along decent after the window to a stream which forced some noise out of each of us as we walked through. It was cold. On the other side, we found an amazing campsite with seats! Unfortunately, we found it around 10am and had to keep hiking away from its epicness.

For the next move through the San Juans, we had to cross an unassuming valley floor with knee high grasses and a trail that disappeared into them. This seemed completely normal until we reached a stream channel in the middle which did not look jumpable. We spent too much time analyzing how to get across this channel and all took slightly different routes. Memphis and ED went for the throwing of packs to the other side with running leaps after scouting close to a quarter mile of its length. I decided to watch Crosby try and cross without a pack to see how deep it actually was. He ferried his pack and my pack across and it was mid-thigh on him, so about waist deep for me. Brown cow water channel. At least we hit it in the morning where the sun could easily dry us off over the course of the day.

We began climbing back up to more ridgelines and started noticing thunder clouds forming. The weather forecast from lake city did not include thunderstorms. I managed to scan my weather app quickly from the top with the barest hint of 3G and glean that isolated afternoon thunderstorms had entered the forecast for the next two days. We escaped that day with only a few sprinkles and watched the rain pass over adjacent ridges.

One of many isolated storm pockets.

That night, we camped below 12,000 feet for the first time in three nights. We purposely chose a lower elevation for a change to see if we’d sleep a little better. Memphis wanted to stop early and have a fire and had found a potential campsite. It had plenty of room once we flung the horse shit out of the flat spots with our trekking poles.

Memphis started a fire and we sat around it to eat dinner. Crosby recited the longest poem I’ve ever heard someone recite. Some ghost stories occurred and I convinced everyone to get up at 4am and morning night hike to get more miles in before any potential thunderstorms. That way, if we did have to hunker down, we’d have already hiked enough miles to not run out of food.

It was a fun morning night hike several thousand feet uphill first thing. Through denser forest to shrubs, to ridgeline. We got to see the sunrise and have second breakfast while we watched it. That day, we got to hike the famous “knife’s edge,” which had some amazing trail construction and offered swift, gallant views.

The knife’s edge.

The trail dropped down to a valley shelf then up onto bare, gravel ridges that had sparse vegetation in the saddles. We watched various storms from the ridge pass over adjacent ridges, but only heard a little bit of thunder. None of us saw lightening and none of the storms passed over the ridges we walked.

Some of the ridges after the knife’s edge.

 

 

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**From September 2015**

Despite a very late start, we managed to get a few miles in before dark. Sometimes just getting back on trail, even a few miles helps immensely the next day. We found a pathetic looking shelter without a floor that we paused to see. It included quite a bit of graffiti, including a tag from Yogi and Worldwide.

We got distracted reading it all and ended up staying there instead of trying to reach a hunting cabin four miles further. Memphis played some comedy from his phone while we ate dinner. Then, I read theSkimm’s summary of the upcoming republican debate as a drinking game.

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My spoon 😦

In the morning, we passed the hunting cabin, which boasted several hunters clad head-to-toe in…you guessed it…cammo. This stretch had more mellow ups and downs full of aspens changing colors for the fall. With the Colorado Trail and the CDT combined, we had no trouble with navigation following the well-defined trail. We cruised, chatted, meandered, and admired the array of aspen leaf colors on the ground and on the trees.

One of those lunches, I went to make the classically old peanut butter tortilla when tragedy struck. My Sea to Summit titanium spoon BROKE in my peanut butter. I held up the handle and peered into the jar.

Memphis: What just happened?

Me: My spoon…

E.D.: In the peanut butter?

Me: I hate peanut butter.

Memphis: Is that titanium?

Me: Yes…

E.D.: You can use my spoon if you need it.

Memphis: You just broke a titanium spoon with peanut butter?

Me: I got this spoon in Daleville on the AT five years ago.

E.D.: Damn.

My favorite spoon was no more. It finished the Appalachian Trail with me. Then it survived a winter of the 46ers I had left to climb in the Adirondacks, it hiked the Colorado Trail with me, it went to New Zealand with me, the spoon survived three ski seasons stuffed into my jacket pocket, it hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, it survived a year of grad school in my backpack, and it went two thousand miles down the CDT.

I retrieved it from my peanut butter jar, licked it clean, and saw that it broke in a spot that neither duct tape nor superglue could fix. I immediately looked for cell service to send my trusty resupply Mother a picture, but none existed. I sadly put the spoon in my bag and thought about all of our times together.

The rolling hills.

The trail continued further through fields and more aspens until a bit before the Creede Cut-Off. On the Colorado Trail, I went into Creede and it was one of my favorite trail towns. This go-round, we would continue to Lake City instead.

Before the cut-off, we camped at the last water before San Luis Pass. Having already climbed San Luis on the Colorado Trail, I did not feel particularly inclined to do it again in interest of getting closer to the road into Lake City, knowing that would be a hard hitch. As per usual, Memphis got up the earliest and high tailed it uphill. It was cold that night and the tents stood rigid with frost. Stuffing a frosty tent into a stuff sack absolutely annihilates the comfort of one’s hands. I usually remedy this by putting my hands inside my puffy afterward.

After San Luis Pass, the trail winds around up and down the high ridges and contours around others passing large volcanic rock structures that always look like sand drip castles on the beach.

On one of the passes, I sat and laid out my tent still complete with frost in the sun and wind to dry while eating some lunch with my poor broken spoon. E.D. came up and did the same and we speculated about the whereabouts of Memphis when he popped up behind us.

Not a bad nap spot.

E.D.: What?

Me: Where’d you go?

Memphis: *smirking* San Luis Peak! My first 14er!

E.D.: Congrats!

Me: Whoa!

Memphis: Yeah! And Action, Shortstack, and Crosby are coming up!

We hadn’t seen Action or Shortstack since Dillon and we hadn’t seen Crosby since Lemhi Pass before Leadore, Idaho! We continued, aiming for the road into Lake City, when Action and Shortstack caught us and told us they were going to take the Creede Cut-Off. They did say that Crosby was planning on going the San Juan route. After catching up, standing, with our packs on, they speed toward the Cut-off and we continued toward the road.

We doubted we’d get a ride around 8pm as the sunset sunk below the ridge, however, we hit the road anyway.

Memphis: WOOHOO!!

E.D.: Something happened.

Me: A ride?

Memphis: BEER!

We hurried down to a wonderful cooler of cold beers. Thank you to the person who left some cold ones by the road!

The sunset going down to the road.

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Once we got off of the paved roads and the dirt roads, the CDT became its usual self of being a trail then disappearing, then reappearing, then disappearing. It liked to disappear right around dark and Guthook would just have a note that said, “follow cairns.” Easy enough, usually, in daylight. Tougher with headlamps, but do-able for a bit.

 

Sunset

The CDT hit some amazing ridgelines that offered stunning views and even more stunning sunsets and sunrises. The ridges all soared above treeline, except when we needed to get over to another ridge.

On one such ridgeline, we lost the trail in the dark. After having already lost it and found it several times, we decided to just camp and find it in the morning. According to Guthook and Gaia, we were on trail, but there was no tread. Classic. We were supposed to contour down to a saddle, which would be easier if we could see some tread in the daylight.

Conveniently, the top of that ridge had just enough internet to check the weather. Of course, the prediction: severe thunderstorms starting around noon the next day throughout the afternoon.

I checked the elevation profile on Guthook to see how exposed we’d be. Guthook showed a startlingly steep climb up and over Parkview mountain with about five miles totally exposed. Thrilling.

I switched to Ley’s maps to see the bigger area. He noted a forest service road as a “thunderstorm avoidance route” which was nine miles compared to five, but the dirt road would keep us between 10,000 and 10,600 and still below treeline. If the storm became bad, at least we would have somewhere to hunker down.

We had a solid eight miles or so to the junction which would place us there right before the thunderstorms would probably hit.

Ducking down for the road, we stopped and ate an early lunch while it wasn’t raining. Eating lunch in the rain is the worst. While we sat there and moved multiple bars into easy access places for the storm, an ATV roared up. Atop it sat a hunter completely in camo with a gun on his hip belt and a very large bow strapped to the back. He stopped to chat. The same general hunter/hiker conversation began.

Hunter: “See any elk recently?”

Me: “Not since Wyoming.”

Hunter: “You all have hiked here from Wyoming?!”

Me: “We started in Canada, actually.”

E.D.: “We’re thru-hiking the continental divide.”

Hunter: “So…where’d ya’ll park?”

Memphis: “We don’t have a car…we walked.”

Hunter: “From Canada…”

Memphis: “Yeah…”

Hunter: “So you parked in Canada?”

Memphis: “No…”

Hunter: “hmmph. Where ya going?”

Me: “Mexico.”

Hunter: Blank stare. “Huh.”

After lunch, we walked up the rough dirt road and within fifteen minutes, we had to scramble to throw on rain gear. The rain, which came quick and fast, shifted into hail almost as quickly. Thinking it would only last a few minutes then return to rain, we ducked under a conifer tree. A few minutes went by. The hail continued with equal voracity. Damn. We gave up cover and just walked in it, leaning forward and guarding our hands. The hail stings when it hits exposed skin.

 

Some of the hail.

The hail continued for upwards of half an hour while thunder boomed nearby and we caught occasional flashes of lightening when we weren’t staring at our feet to avoid hail to the face. The storm did let up on the hail, but the rain kept up for about five more hours. We had to keep moving to keep warm; if we stopped, we would become too cold. I kept reminding myself that it could be worse…we could be higher and more exposed through the lightening.

We got back to the trail and crossed a road. Memphis decided that we were camping early because it was his birthday. I came to the conclusion that trail birthdays on the CDT were cursed because of the storm that day and the thundersnow on Scallywag’s birthday.

 

The fog after the rain.

I didn’t particularly want to stop early because I wanted to get over Bowen Pass the next day before any more storms invariably came in to drench us, but it’s hard to argue with the birthday line and it did feel good to lay down.

The next morning, we did have to haul ass to get over to and up the pass with storms forming in the distance. It was a long climb, but not horrendously steep, so with some loud electronic music, it went quickly.

E.D. surged ahead and Memphis took awhile on the downhill. I accidentally scared the shit out of some day hikers who didn’t hear me approach until I said, “Hi” behind them in an attempt to pass.

I found E.D. chilling under a privy porch cooking ramen while it misted. The main storm had passed, but a bit continued now and then. After we called the hostel in Grand Lake, to let them know we’d be coming in a bit late, we trudged through the last few miles where we saw about 25 elk in two groups.

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Facebook Messenger:

Last on the Bus (LB): “Are you in Steamboat yet? I’m in the Rabbit Ears Motel!”

Me: “What?? We’re in the Quality Inn.”

LB: “Have you eaten yet?”

Me: “No, you?”

LB: “Meet me and my Dad downtown!”

Steamboat Springs was a spread out town for hikers. With a vehicle, it’s not a big town, but on foot it takes longer. However, because Colorado is awesome, Steamboat Springs had a free bus system that traversed town every twenty minutes or so.

Easily Distracted, Memphis, and I hopped on the free bus and headed downtown to meet up with LB, who I knew from the PCT in 2012. We found him at a bar and we had a few beers to catch up. He and his Dad were on a motorcycle trip around Colorado for a week.

We progressed over to some Mexican food when we realized that we had been chatting, but not eating. How un-thruhiker of us! To make up for it, we all cleaned our plates.

The next day, we slowly got all the chores done, making our way around town slowly. I had called Arc’teryx about my rain shell not being waterproof and leaking through the fabric and found them most unhelpful. I decided that it would be easier to send it home then through their complicated process after the hike. I found a decent enough rain shell at Sports Authority and that seemed to work better, although my less than $1 rain skirt…i.e. trash bag worked better than both jackets ever did.

The ride we obtained out of Steamboat dropped us off a little early, but it would only be an extra mile down to the trail, so not too bad. Naturally, it was raining out when we got dropped off near Rabbit Ears Pass.

 

The found PBRs…

Then, something AMAZING happened. As we walked through a road pull off, we saw an open case of PBR. E.D. went to check it, expecting only trash. Shrieks of delight told us that was not the case. E.D. pulled out five full PBRs and a bottle of almost empty whiskey! We opted against the whiskey, since we already had plenty, but we all found spots to squeeze the PBRs into our packs.

E.D.: “Do PBRs expire?”

Memphis: “I don’t think so…that’s what makes them great!”

Me: “I don’t see an expiration date…”

The “trail” out of Steamboat continued down Hwy 40 for a wee bit, then turned down CO Hwy 14 for quite a few miles. We hoped to make it off the paved stuff onto the dirt road which we suspected would have forest service land on at least one side where we could legally camp.

The sunset, visible from the road, made the whole road experience better with the pinks and oranges melding together over some rolling hills. Plus, once it got dark, E.D. and I popped some PBRs for the last few miles and said cheers to the trail gods.

 

The road sunset.

 

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The entire reason we went into Idyllwild was to celebrate Dead Animal’s birthday per his plan, however, he was lagging behind due to our Cinco de Mayo celebrations, which lasted well past hiker midnight (9 p.m.).  Hop-a-long, Inspector Gadget and I got a ride into town fairly easily and began our town routines which included grabbing mail drops and bounce boxes from the post office with our food for the next few days, then grabbed some hot food at the pizza place with a delicious chocolate porter.

Most of the rooms in town were full by the time we got there, swamped with hiker trash, so we found the $3 campground which ended up suiting our budgets much better.  Inspector Gadget had Dead Animal’s number and he mentioned maybe not making it into town since he still had 6 miles to go.  We told him to suck it up, P.S. happy birthday.  Our next move went to the laundromat where I sat there charging my phone and iPod wearing, my scarf on top and shell zipped up around the bottom having the arm holes coming out from my waist.  I felt bad putting clean clothes on when I hadn’t showered, but whatever.  We found the token machine for showers not long afterwards and cleaned up properly for the first time in 10 days.  At least half my tan washed off and turned the floor into a mess of layers upon layers of dirt and sunscreen.

Dead Animal did manage to suck it up and got in around 8 p.m.  Since no other restaurants were open, we met up at the only place in town still open: the liquor store.  As Dead Animal put it, “at least they have their priorities straight –  we can get beer.”  We got some beer and snacks then went to Spork and Chimp’s room to watch tv and celebrate.  That went well past hiker midnight as well.

In the morning, our early start kept getting delayed until eventually we waited until the heat went away.  By that time I had the brilliant idea to eat an entire bag of ruffles potato chips.

Eventually, Hop-a-long and I escaped the town vortex and began hitching our way back to the trailhead at highway 74.  One sketchy dude turned around and told us we were hitching from the wrong spot, so we opted not to get in with him and keep waiting.  Then another truck turned around with a bunch of hikers in the back including Moxie and the Israeli with the hurt knee; Lawrence the spring man had shuttled them in and was taking them further into town.  Finally, a nice retired man picked us up and took us to the trail.

Upon setting off into the steaming afternoon heat, I noticed that my brilliant potato chip idea was not so brilliant as they did not seem to digest, but rather sat as one large lump in my stomach.  A large group of horse riders passed us going back to the road which meant horse poop all over the trail for at least several miles.  Great.  They always seem to want to poop exactly where the most convenient spots are to put your feet.

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We wound in, out, and around large rock piles that seemed so likely to have sat on the sea floor a million years ago.  Between the heat and the potato lump lodged in my stomach, both of us had slowed down.  We plugged on beginning to ascend for miles and miles to the first ridge in the San Jacinto Wilderness.  For a bit we had the usual switchbacks, but occasionally it liked the throw an east coast number in there and just go straight up.

By the time we got near the top of the ridge it was pretty dark,but we caught the tail end of the sunset and the amazing amount of lights coming up from houses far, far below.  We popped up on Challenger who had camped about 2ish miles from where we wanted to be.  It felt good to be on top of a ridge again and not just winding up and down on one side of it, but when Hop-a-long and I started talking out loud to coax our feet into moving, it was about time to call it for the night.

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About a half mile before where we wanted to camp, we found a sweet spot with a bench.  The bench sold us and we plopped right down to cook.

In the morning, we headed toward Eagle Spring to get water and then eat breakfast.  A whopping 3/10 of a mile down off the trail, we came to the piped spring with maybe 2 or 3 drops per second coming out into a rusty metal tub with some bugs floating in it.  Knees had gotten down there just before us and we all looked at it, debating what to do. I had aquamira and Hop-a-long had a steripen, but Knees let us use his awesome sawyer filter. It worked fantastic! Now I want one hahaha.

After a long breakfast, we got moving again, but soon took a break when we found Lawrence the Spring Guy three miles down the trail handing us either donut pastries or dried pineapple rings!  We asked him if he knew why lizards do the push-up routine and he thought it was something to do with depth perception since their eyes were on the sides of their heads.

Climbing up again, we stopped a few miles later for lunch and realized how slow and distracted we were that day.  The next 8 or 9 miles seemed to go on forever and we kept thinking we were further than we actually were due to the crazy switchbacks.  I kept thinking how terrible it would be to be on a horse through that section when a few times I could only fit one foot on the trail – not both together…so how is a large horse supposed to fit four?

Beautiful, sweeping views went everywhere and I felt like I was in a plane looking down and the square town areas so far below.  A few times the entire ridge became so narrow that it might have stretched 10 feet wide total.

We ran into Gypsy Girl and Hamburger who decided to hike sobo back to the highway.  Gypsy had thrown away her trail runners that fell apart after 150 miles and got on the sandal train, going with the Tevas.  Later on, we ran into Dead Animal and Shags also sobo-ing and we circled up with a nice 24 oz Mickey’s that Dead Animal had packed up.

Finally, we got to the stream which flowed magnificently and cooked dinner.  Gut Feeling, Sunset, and Knees stumbled up later, overjoyed because they had run dry on the last stretch.  We hiked on two more miles to saddle junction over a few patches or snow here and there.  It said on a huge sign not to camp in the saddle, so we hiked up a hundred yards or so and camped there.

We managed to get going fairly early but our legs didn’t want to climb two more 1000 foot climbs.  Plus, you know it’s going to be hot when you’re in a tank top, shorts, and sandals going through snow patches at 9000 ft,  at 7:30 a.m.

The water sources for five miles flowed excellently.  The problem: six of them in five miles, then 20 miles dry. We knew we weren’t going to do 27 miles that day, so we loaded up, cooked lunch, then headed down the trail for the last two bumps and then a whopping 8,000 ft descent.  We met Wildflower and Nips having lunch who mentioned that Mellow Yellow had somehow gotten behind me, which made me laugh.

Beginning the descent, we were excited until the switchbacks made it seem like we weren’t going anywhere.  It seemed like whoever made the trail just made you see one view, then walk a ways to the other view, then back and forth, back and forth.  At times, I felt like I was walking in circles, not actually going down.  Then the damn plants!  There is one suuuuper prickly one that just hurts and scrapes you up something fierce!  It has pretty flowers from a light blue to light violet to make you think it’s nice, then it just scratches you endlessly.

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We found a campsite a little after mile 200 to cowboy.  In the morning, we were both up by 5:30 a.m.

“I slept like shit,” Hop-a-long said.

“You took the words right out of my mouth,” I said.

“Every time I rolled over, something went numb,” she said.

“I couldn’t breathe out of my nose and I was too hot,”  I replied.

At 6:20 we left and ten minutes into the morning I already saw a snake.  Great.  We had a few thousand more feet to stumble down.  I found Andrew the Australian with only 200 ml of water left and I gave him half a liter to drink since he looked desperate.  About half way down I heard buzzzzzzz buzzzzzzz. Shit! Bees! Run! We bolted down the trail from the large amount of bees in a rock by the trail.

The water faucet at the dirt road was a welcome sight and our knees were overjoyed not to descend anymore.  A security guy named Bob drove his truck up.  “Any ya’ll get stung by bees today?”

“No…” was the answer from me, Hop-a-long, Andrew the Australian, and Ninja.

“Oh good! Those bees up there are Africanized and aggressive.  A hell of a lotta hikers got stung yesterday!”

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