Friday, April 11, 2014

Scissors Under A Bridge - Day 7 (4/11/2014)

Day 7
Rodriguiz mile 68.7 to a tent site at 83.3
Miles 14.6

Mandie came up with a new word today...
Cryking: (verb) to cry while hiking. A style of hiking usually adopted following over exposure to the elements, sore feet, homesickness, fatigue, and hunger. 

Well today started out like the last 6 days with waking up early, making coffee, having a small breakfast, packing up, and hitting the trail. I think we were walking at 7:30 this morning with a beautiful morning sunrise casting its glow across a huge meadow. 

Before I move on, my new sleeping pad works much better for me than the other one, at least it seems to having used it only one night. It is a thin pad, about a half inch thick, so my ribs hurt while sleeping on my side but all the other issues I had with the inflatable one are gone and I slept much better last night. To fix the rib issue, I think I will cut a section of pad off the bottom, it is too long anyway, and put it under the torso section. 

Anyway, back to the trail. We spent the morning doing an 8.8 mile hike up and down and around the foothills of the desert to a spot called Scissors Crossing. As we walked we could pretty much see our destination below us, which was across this huge meadow. Did the trail take us down to the desert floor and allow us to walk on a nice flat surface, of course not. Every time we would start hiking down, the trail would make a turn and we would start climbing again. It got to be very frustrating. I imagine this is how most of the trail is going to be, never a straight shot from point A to point B. It is what it is. 

Beacon, Bumble Bee and Rocket Lama at Scissors Crossing
After we did the hot trudge across this part of the desert we came to an overpass with a couch and Trail Magic under it, Scissors Crossing. This is where we would spend the hottest portion of the day. Beacon, a fellow we just met, was already there relaxing on the couch. We layed out our sleeping pads to sit on and took off our shoes to let our feet rest. As we were sitting there a girl named Rocket Lama showed up. We only knew her from FB and from the silly hiking comic she draws. She is very talented. A little while later Bumble bee showed up and soon followed by a kid named Max. Max is just out of High School and is an energetic young lad. 

Mandie and I spent about 5 hours under this bridge eating snacks, drinking water, and resting. The others took a shuttle to Julian. Most hikers go to Julian from this spot; we went earlier cuz of Mandie's feet so we didn't go this time. 

At 4 pm Mandie and I were just about done getting suited up to head out and she had a moment and needed a hug. We sat on the couch in each others arms while she cried. About, I dunno, 30 seconds later a gaggle of turkeys decided to walk on by us. We both sat there ever so quietly as these turkeys, big and small ones, walked right by us. It helped break the mood which was exactly what was needed. Besides some squirrels and lizards these are the first real animals we have seen on this trip. 

So, out from under the bridge we go on out way up and across the San Felipe Mountains. In a couple days we should have them crossed and be in Warner Springs. The hike up this mountain range is filled with tons of switchbacks that feel like they are gaining lots of altitude but don't seem like it when you look down the mountain at your progress. Back and forth we go and in and out of every little valley until we reach the top where it levels out. To make the hiking even better we had to deal with head winds which were so strong it felt like they wanted to blow us off the mountain. It was gnarly but we did it. 

The cool thing that we are starting to notice is that we are getting stronger and our cardiovascular system is getting better. We can hike much longer now with fewer breaks. It is a cool transition to experience. I'm proud of us. 

Bumble Bee and Mandie
Mandie's feet seem to be doing much better now but there is still some pain when she hikes. She pushes on like a trooper because that is what we have to do. She is not alone in her pain, my feet hurt as well. I think my heels are bruised from the constant pounding on the ground and of course my legs are tired. 

Despite all the pain, this is already an amazing experience. It is a good feeling to push yourself each day despite all the obstacles. And, the one thing I was really worried about before we left, the people and social interactions, turns out to be one of the parts of this journey that I enjoy most. The part that I do enjoy the most is getting to share this adventure with the person laying next to me right now in this little tent. FLU!

One thing I would like to add which has nothing to do with anything is, how easy it is to lose something in a tent. I can't tell you how many times we have been in the tent, set a pair of socks or whatever down, and can't find them again. At least not without some serious searching. It is an amazing little phenomenon.