Grass Valley Creek
We woke this morning to cold temperatures again. So far, we have been pretty fortunate with our desert walking. I am willing to handle cold mornings if it means cool days.
Our walk this morning was a very nice grade, generally sloping downhill as it followed the contours of the hillside. Deep Creek was down hill from us, at times 100 feet or more nearly straight down. As we walked along the decomposed granite, we could hear the churning water below. Occassionally, we would follow the contours away from the creek, and it seemed as though someone had turned the volume down on the speakers playing the ambient meditation sounds of a stream.
Shortly after we started hiking today, we passed the 300 mile mark. As if on cue, we passed Deep Creek Hot Springs a few miles later. What better way to celebrate hiking 300 miles than a nice soak in warm water. We dropped our packs, shed our boots, and hopped into one of the pools. Of course we did not dunk our heads, because the guidebook warns of "a very rare, microscopic amoeba (that) has caused deadly amoebic meningoencephalitis." It would seem the amoeba likes to enter the body through the nose, so we chose not to submerge our heads.
After a good rest in late morning, we returned to the rocky tread high above Deep Creek. Momentarily dropping down to cross a beautiful bridge and traversing to the north side of the stream. As we climbed back up to the high canyon walls, we had a clear view of Mt. Baden-Powell.
Tracing the canyon walls, adorned with hundreds of spray-painted tags claiming "rights" to the area, we made our short flat hike to a over-sized dam. As we walked along the base of the dam, the wind began to pick up, and we could see a wall of sand heading to hit us. We walked the mile with sandy grit whipping our skin and getting in our eyes and mouth.
Shortly after we reached the crossing of Deep Creek the wind picked up. I had a minor stomach ache over the last couple miles, so with the wind, it was a difficult end to an otherwise beautiful day. Skirting willows and cottonwoods, we soon made our climb out of the canyon.
Our camp was still four miles away, and the wind was beating furiously. Apricots and I just put our heads down and motored through the remainder of the day. Passing chaparrel with our blinders on, we eventually dropped down an old road until we hit Grass Valley Creek.
Here we set up camp, did some laundry in the creek, and ate dinner inside our tent. The wind is howling right now, and the tent is beating furiously with the occasional blast. Hopefully the wind will die down enough that we get some sleep.
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