Mile 444.3 to mile 458.7
Well we did it. We were up at 3:30a and on the trail by 4:20a. It wasn't easy but it was necessary to beat the heat.
While we were getting ready this morning we had several different encounters with animals. For starters, we saw several coyotes cruising through our lawn/camping area. Then we heard the sounds of lions making their noises, I call it chuffing. I'm not even sure if 'chuffing' is a word let alone the right word but it sounds good to me. I guess there is a zoo near the KOA. The third animal encounter, if you can call it that, was by the cats and dogs in the tent next to us. There was a husband and wife camped next to us with seven animals, five dogs and two cats, all crammed into a not so big tent. To make it even worse there were litter boxes and cat carriers in the tent too. Even now, thinking about those animals in that tent makes me cringe and I really wanted to call animal control on them. The couple said that they were waiting for their house to go through escrow, which should happen in a couple of weeks. In my opinion that is way to long for those animals to be couped up in a tent.
Anyway, by 4:20a the three of us, Far Out included, were on the trail huffing it up the hill by headlamp. Even at that hour it still felt muggy and hot out but not nearly as hot as it was going to be. Soon enough the sun had risen enough for us to turn off the headlamps and enjoy the trail using the soft glow of the morning sun. It was a beautiful time to hike. Everything was waking up, birds started singing, flowers opening up, etc...
By the seventh mile Mandie and I needed a break, Far Out was already long gone. So we stopped for a short break on the side of the trail to take care of some morning duties and have a bite to eat. The Snickers bar we ate before hitting the trail had been burned up long ago.
A mile or so later we entered the Vasquez Rocks National Area. This area is home to huge rock formations that are all at like a 45 degree angle. It is a really neat area and I think they used to film episodes of Star Trek out there but I'm not 100% sure about that. The trail through Vasquez Rocks was a nature trail with lots of signs naming different shrubs and trees in the area. We enjoyed that part of the trail the most.
When we got to the Vasquez Rocks trailhead, I guess we went through the area from back to front, Far Out was waiting there for us. He has been having some stomach related issues and needed to rest for a bit. The three of us would then walked the final 1.5 miles into Agua Dulce.
When we arrived in Agua Dulce, Mandie and I made a b-line to the local cafe for coffee and food while Far Out continued on to the Saufley's for more rest. We had an amazing breakfast which included a fruit plate and banana bread French toast before heading over to the grocery store to buy supplies for our next section.
With heavy bags on our backs we made the mile road walk over to the Saufley's. Upon entering the Saufley's property we were immediately greeted by a gorgeous horse in its coral. We said hello and gave it a pet before moving on to the main area. The main area is a nice sized piece of land that is home to several motorhomes, a trailer home, several huge netted tents filled with cots, and of course the Saufley's home. In their garage there are metal racks filled with USPS hiker boxes, washer and driers, and huge informational boards. There are showers, phone charging stations, and computers for hikers to use. It is a very impressive place and they run it very smoothly. They really would prefer that hikers take a full Zero there and were a little upset that we weren't going to do that. It was a tough decision not to stay but we really needed to get back on the trail and continue making miles.
Mandie and I spent the afternoon backing up pictures off of our phones and mailing those DVDs home, checking email, talking with other hikers, playing with all of the Saufley's dogs, and just staying out of the sun.
I would like to mention that I got a wonderful email from my dad today. He went on and on about how happy he is for me that I am doing this and how it has inspired him to go after some of his dreams. That it is never too late to get out there and try. It was really wonderful to read those words of support from him. Thanks dad. I love you.
Around 5p we got a ride back into town from one of the Saufley's volunteers. We had some dinner with Far Out and a couple other hikers and got back on the trail. Far Out went back to the Saufley's to continue resting his bottom. :)
We are now camped in the middle of nowhere getting freaked out by all the animal noises that we are hearing. We think most of the noises are coyotes but there could be larger things out there. I'm sure our minds are building up these noises. We will be fine, I hope.
Just a little side note here. The subject matter of a lot of conversation that we have been having with other hikers is pretty funny and gross. Most of those conversations revolve around what goes into our bodies, what comes out of our bodies, or what is happening to our bodies. I think that we are all going through the same thing which makes it is easier to talk about those problems. Also, I think we all have to rely on each other for help and support since there is nobody else out here. I think it is pretty neat to be that open with people I have just met.