Cottonwood Creek Bridge(534.9) to Tentsite(549.7) 14.8 Miles
Today really felt like two separate days. After going to bed at two a.m. I woke up at six and was still really tired. I didn't feel like moving, but I had to make it to the next water source before it got too hot out. It was only seven miles away, but in my sleep deprived state it might as well have been twenty miles. The wind was even worse than last night. Every step was a struggle through loose sand. I did enjoy walking through the wind farm and I was surprised by a flock of sheep.
It was incredibly hot out by 7:30. Our destination was at the top of a steep climb. I struggled my way up the mountain and from the top our water source looked dry. I had a small moment of worry, but as I got closer I could see a small glimmer of water. Wolf had scouted us a location for our siesta and it was paradise. A very large tree right next to the creek with lots of flat spots. We immediately setup for the day. Flamin Hot cooked me lunch, it was one of the best trail meals I've had so far. He made couscous, jalapeño, chorizo, and olive oil. After filling my belly I laid down to try and get some sleep. It was a surreal experience. I would fall asleep and wake up thirty minutes later in the sun. Then I would move around to get back in the shade. This continued with people all day. It was crazy, every time I woke up someone new was sleeping next to me.
We waited out the heat until five o'clock. By then everyone was bored and getting antsy to continue on. The wind had picked up even more, sustained speeds were 20 mph with gusts up to 65. To make things even more challenging we had a very exposed mountain with lots of switchbacks to contend with. I've never struggled so much just to take one step forward. Several times I thought I was going to be blown off of the mountain. We had planned on hiking 10-12 miles after our siesta, but the wind and the climb slowed us down. At the top of the climb we got trail magic in the form of water and fresh fruit. That fueled us on to our final stop a mile later.
We didn't get into camp until almost nine o'clock. By the time we cooked and did our camp chores it was almost ten. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Tomorrow is another town day and I'm super excited about it. The temperature is supposed to cool down in Agee days and I'm hoping I can get on a normal hiking schedule again.
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."
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