Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No swimming until 30 minutes after you eat (or seven miles)

Day 21-May 4th

Just in case you needed to be told, sleeping under an interstate highway, next to train tracks is not a great idea. I slept so so, but Apricots slept quite poorly. In the middle of the night, she woke me, and asked that we move away from the noise. We grabbed our bags and pads and moved 50 yards away from the freeway. It wasn't much, but it definitely helped.

Despite wanting to rise early, and beat the heat, our general lack of sleep made us move slower in the morning. Once moving, the hot sun was already beating down. We made a slow gradual ascent into the Mesa Wind Farm. The large wind turbines spun hypnotically with a steady whir-whir-whir with each turn. Each turbine can power roughly 30 houses, and this wind farm had roughly 400 turbines.

As we neared the office, we debated whether to stop in and say hi. They offered shade and water, but the day was young, and we were hydrated. Almost passing them by, Uncle Tom suggested we go in. Free water is free water you did not have to carry.

Once we arrived at the office, we were told showers were also available, and they had a large supply of inexpensive food to buy. Our eyes lit up, and we ate our way through Pizza, Burritos, Breakfast Croissants, and Klondike Ice Cream treats, while each of us took our turn at the shower.

The timing of such a treat left us in a bad spot, as we were leaving into the hot desert midday. We could wait out the heat, and run up a food tab for four hours, or we could cut our unexpected treat short, and get more miles in before the serious heat arrived. We chose to hit the trail, but not without buying some more food to take with us.

We re-entered the heat, and I suffered. I spent so much time eating, my belly was too full for proper hydration. I walked, or rather stumbled, my way across the desert. The views were stunning, but I was beat. Fortunately, a large stream was only seven miles down the trail.

When we arrived, we dropped our packs at the largest shade patch we could find, which was small, and under a very harsh plant. Its twigs of spikes could penetrate the soles of our shoes and stab our feet, so we had to be careful about where we laid down.

Since the shade was small, and I was hot, we grabbed our dirty clothes, wash basin, water filter, and bottles and walked back to Whitewater River. From there, we washed our sweat off, drank water, and cleaned our clothes. The water temperature was just warm enough to play in, but cool enough to offer a welcome break from the heat.

By the time we were done, our shade patch had grown large enough for two people to lay out. Apricots and I took a nap to wait out the heat of the day. Our microwaveable burritos cooked under the sun, carefully perched upon a cactus.

Around four we packed up our gear and started the climb from Whitewater canyon to Mission Creek. Apparently we are at a latitude and location of the southernmost glaciation during the ice age, and looking at the landscape, you can almost picture a time when it was overrun with glaciers.

The last six miles of the day was a true crest walk. After we made our climb to the ridge, we were given amazing views down both sides of the ridge. You could see everything that we had hiked today, plus what we will be hiking tomorrow. It was a complete 360 degree panorama of amazing scenes.

After riding the ridge for around six miles, we dropped down to Mission Creek and set up camp. Tomorrow we get to hike up Mission Creek canyon.

In the distance, wearing yellow is General Lee. In the middle ground is The Mayor, with his brother Richard Wizard to the right. Apricots is doing laundry in the foreground.

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1 comment:

  1. Your burritos in the sun, sounds a lot like dashboard cooking Apricots.I like the pic and was happy to see a new blog today. I awoke to snow this a.m. and tonight it is suppose to get down to 25 degrees.

    Again it sounds as though lots of folks are looking out for the hikers and I am expressing my gratitude for that.

    Journey on and travel in safety...xo