CDT Day 70 — September 3
The Basin to somewhere else in The Basin
Cheryl Strayed Camp to Cloudy Scoot and Toot Camp
Miles hiked: 27.2 + 2.6 bonus jogging miles
Total miles: 1232.8
The Basin surprised us today for a couple of reasons. There were a bunch of hills, but also a ton of clouds. Both unexpected. We also caught wind of a long dry stretch coming our way. One day at a time, though. This is tough enough as it is.
We missed our alarm, but were still hiking, back on the dirt road at 5:45am. We found Pineapple breaking down camp and made it to Weasel Spring just as the sun crested the horizon, bathing us in golden light. I appreciated this beauty, knowing full well what these rays would become, in a few short hours — heat daggers of death. The water in the trashcan-like metal tube was good and clear. Yummy. I filled up and headed out behind the others, straight into the sun.
Cows moo-d and shuffled away from me as the road undulated between dry washes, some filled with green grass and creosote bushes blooming bright yellow. I breaked with Spice in the shade of our sunbrellas once, twice in the deeper of these gullies. Music jammed from her phone and we practiced our best awkward dance moves.
We tracked down Pineapple again at a water cache, fenced in to keep the cows out and with a informative sign about where the heck we were. There wasn’t a whole lot of water left of the 20 gallon capacity, so we each poured three liters into our bottles, leaving about six for our buddies, Crunchberry and Rooster, behind us. There was a cow pond a mile ahead that we would use to supplement this supply for the 20 miles to the next good source.
It was kinda cloudy now fortunately, sitting in the 70s instead of the mid-80s like yesterday. But, damn, that cow water! Nasty. Even after filtering from the pond, the water looked like a weak tea and tasted like dirt, or worse. No need for imagination here. The two-dozen cows we shared the water with were actively adding to the large collection of cow pies baking in the sun, or floating in the water. I’ll leave this water for last.
A surprising number of hills made for good looking, but tough walking. The cloud cover was complete now, which really helped us out a ton. Spice was understandably still not running at full steam with lingering gut issues, so we took it easy, grateful for the shade and chilly wind. A stoned NOBO gave us some unwelcome news about a 35 mile dry stretch coming up. That will be tough.
The sunset was as awesome as the sunrise. As I transitioned to headlamp hiking, I realized I had dropped my sunglasses somewhere. Those of you who got tired of me complaining the last time I lost my sunglasses will be happy to hear that I found them after a short jog back along the road. I was not willing to lose them out here. No way.
I caught up with Spice at the top of a climb. She was sitting in the dark after her hiker-box replacement headlamp quit on her. As good a place to camp as any. More pad thai for dinner. Some tapping on our phones confirms a 32.5 mile dry stretch starting sometime tomorrow. Not a big deal if we get good cloud cover again. I’m not going to count on it though.