Friday, April 18, 2014

Lizards, Snakes, And Cats - Day 13 (4/17/2014)

Day 13
Mile 127.1 to 143
15.9 miles

We did almost 16 miles today. So much for shorter mileage days, huh? Despite how we have been feeling on the trail we had to push it today in order to have a low mileage day tomorrow. We needed a low mileage day tomorrow so that we could make it to Paradise Cafe, yummy foods, and then onto Idyllwild to resupply.

We set our alarm for 5a this morning so that we could start hiking sooner than previous mornings. After some snooze button pressing we finally got up and were on the trail by 7 am. 

Right off the bat the trail picked up where it left off and climbed for a couple of miles and then dropped considerably for several miles. There was a small plateau at the top which offered an incredible view of Anza. We sat on a rock and enjoyed the view for a moment before heading down the mountain. These views really are what this trip is about. They have been amazing so far. 

About 1/4 of the way down the mountain we stopped in a shady spot to rest and to take care of some morning business. As we sat there, several groups of hikers passed by and we exchanged names and other pleasantries. We would leap frog with most of these people for the rest of the day. 

Around mile 130 I noticed that there was a Horned Lizard off to the side of the trail. I tried my best to catch it but it got away from me. That totally bummed me out because I want to catch one so badly. I almost had it. 

Around mile 134 we encountered our third snake for the trip. The snake was the same kind as the first snake we saw which I labeled a Corn snake. I have learned that it was probably a Razor snake. It was laying in the middle of the trail trying to make a home for itself under a rock. It would stick its head and part of its body into a hole and return with a mouth full of dirt, which it would promptly spit out. We watched it do this for a good minute before it got spooked and sped off into the nearby brush. 

At mile 136 we came to a junction in the trail that would take us 1/4 mile off trail to Tule Spring where we could replenish our water supply. As we arrived we saw most of the group that we had been leap frogging with was already there, including Pillsbury. We filled up all of our water containers and pulled up a sleeping pad next to the rest of group. (We use our sleeping pads to sit on so we aren't sitting in the dirt.) The group included: Juke, Cash, Teddy, Prestige, Acorn, and Estero. I love trail names :). Shortly after we got there Happy Feet showed up and joined the party. We were glad to see Happy Feet, he is a great guy.

A short time later Happy Feet was laying on his sleeping pad while we were all talking and he jumps up and shouts, SNAKE!!! Sure enough this beautiful rattle snake was coming out of the brush next to him like it wanted to join the group. We all jumped up, grabbed our cameras and took as many photos and videos of this amazing creature as we could. When the snake would get too close for comfort Juke would use his umbrella to steer it away from us. The snake eventually slithered back into the brush and we all continued on with what we were doing. I have some great video and pictures that I will share. 

After our lunch break we busted out another 5 or 6 miles to bring our total to 15.9 miles. It was a hot afternoon, around 91 degrees when we broke from lunch but we were fortunate to get some cloud cover and some nice gusts of wind as we started hiking. 

We both felt really good today and hiked at our usual pace today. Our feet were still sore but nothing like they have been over the last few weeks. I hope we have turned a corner in our hiking health and more great days like this are to come. 

We are camping at a water cache called Hikers Oasis and Pillsbury has joined us this evening.  I think this is mostly due to the large cat-like paw prints that Mandie saw in the wash not too far from here. I am sure the prints are from a 200 lb house cat and not a mountain lion. 

Sleep tight all!