Will the real southern California please stand up. She did today. I got an early start to beat some of the heat but apparently that was not enough. I awoke just before 4 am but did not get rolling until 5 am. I was trying to make the water cache as early as possible.
But the weather has changed. The forecast shows each day getting progressively hotter with temperatures reaching 100+ by Saturday. It said today got to 86 but it felt way hotter than that. It felt mid 90’s to me. By 8 am the heat was already unbearable because I was crossing the valley floor about two miles to get from one mountain chain to another.
This new chain is the San Felipe mountains and they are not green at all. It looks like the moon with dead cactus. They are also the most craggy and cut up with canyons that I have seen yet. The next town I am trying to get to is Warner Springs which is about 12 miles by car, but 30 miles by trail. The trail is not steep or anything, it just wiggles around like mountain bike trails.
I was going to hike until about 2 to get me within striking distance of the water cache so I could take an afternoon break to get out of the heat. There was hardly a breeze and the umbrella shaded me from the sun but could not shade me from the rocks. Heat radiates up from the ground.
I ran across an unusual high spot at 12:30 that was very flat and very windy. It seemed like a good place to set the tent up to hide from the shade. Turns out not so much. The sun was so hot that the rain fly did not really block much of it at all. I had to use the umbrella inside the tent to shade my upper body and just let my legs fry. The wind died down alot and when it did, the heat was unbearable. When a breeze kicked up, it would dry the sweat and then die down again.
I drank over a liter just sitting doing nothing and also cooked some noodles which used another half liter. The cache was 9 miles away and I had about 2 1/2 liters left when I set out at 5 PM.
I hauled boogie to try to make it before dark. It was still quite hot at 5 and didn’t really get cool until about 7:45. I made the water cache about 8:45 and loaded up. They bring pallets of gallon bottles via truck and have an elaborate system of get from here first and crush the empties and deposit there. Having a system allows them to immediately know how much water is left.
I wanted to be sure I make Warner Springs by the afternoon heat, so I headed out to knock out another 3 miles to shorten the 18+ miles to town. I found a nice spot at 2 miles so stopped at 10:30 and set up the tent without the fly because it’s really windy and I want to watch the stars tonight. I still can’t bring myself to cowboy camp without the tent because there’s too many damn rattlesnakes here. I have seen three and it’s only the fourth full day of hiking. No thank you on the snakes.
With 16 miles left to town, I should be able to make that in one shot and be there noonish if I leave early enough. I’m looking forward to a shower and laundry. My white shirt is fifty shades of brown. It gets dirty fast, but it sure helps with the sun. I also have my first food resupply at the post office. It will take the entire afternoon just to do chores.
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