Muddy Creek(1594.6) to Parking Area(1619.8) 25.3 Miles
I woke up just before dawn this morning. I felt water dripping on my face and was convinced that the rain had returned. I groggily open up my tent and saw clear skies. Turns out that frost had collected on my tent and that caused a ton of condensation to build up inside. I decided to pack up as quickly as possible so my stuff wouldn’t get wet. I didn’t sleep very well. I’m not sure why, but I kept waking up and it would take me a while to fall back to sleep. I had a coyote visit me around 1:30. It was only about 10 yards away. As soon as it heard me it ran away.
View from my tent
Turtle and I were so excited to have good weather this morning. It was really a moral boost. We made quick work of the first 5.5 miles of the day. We expected to hit a water source, but it was dry. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was disconcerting. We hiked about another mile to find that source dry as well. We figured that with the recent rains these sources would be rock solid. Usually we have a water report to help guide us, but since we flipped farther north I’m pretty sure we are the first hikers of the season to come through this area. We still had plenty of water to last us awhile and the area has more than a few natural ground water sources. The issue is that all of the ground water in this area has a very high salt content. The further we hike, the more saline water we come across. The saline ranges from barely drinkable to ocean level ranges. We were forced to carry and drink some of the barely drinkable water. I felt like a castaway. Water all around, but not able to drink it. We will carry and drink this water for almost 30 miles. The more of it I drank today the thirstier I felt. It was like eating a jumbo movie theater popcorn. I can taste the salt on my lips and nothing quenches my thirst.
Huge heard of cows
The terrain changed rapidly during the hike today. The early morning felt very lush with lots of wildflowers and greenery. The farther I hiked, the more desert like it became. We walked along a dirt road for close to 20 miles. It was hard to keep my mind engaged in the hike. I quickly grew bored. I saw the same view practically all day. At first it was awesome, but after hours of it I was less impressed. The one super cool thing is how often I see Pronghorn antelope. I was excited for this section primarily because of the chance to see the fastest land animal in North America. They are very skittish animals. I haven’t been able to get a picture because I never get within 300 yards before they run away. Late in the day I finally had two who didn’t run from me. I got within 50 yards and they just stared at me. It was pretty cool.
Pair of pronghorn antelope
Since Turtle and I had a definitive campsite in mind we hiked separately. I have really enjoyed hiking with him, but I also like to hike alone. After the rough few weeks we have had I put on my favorite audiobook, Harry Potter, and just cruised. The Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale always puts a smile on my face. The miles just flew by. Even the crappy salty water couldn’t bring me down.
First 5 miles of my day
5 more miles
Saline pond 5 miles later
Around mile 19. Big difference to how my day started
The Sand Hills
Can anyone tell me about this plant. It looked like it had grapes growing
Dry pond. See all of the residual salt?
I ended the day at a BLM parking area. Turtle and I were so stoked to have pit toilets, picnic tables, and trash cans. When I arrived some locals were using the sheltered picnic table area as a gun range. I went over to say hello and to try to yogi(get food or drinks from someone without out right asking for said item) some water. The guys didn’t catch on. I didn’t get water or a good vibe from then. I walked back the way I had come to another area with picnic tables. I felt better when Turtle showed up a few minutes later. We cooked and ate dinner while they had target practice. We wanted to setup camp where they were shooting their guns. Eventually they left, but another larger group showed up. They were much more obnoxious. They had loud, crappy music playing and were burning trash while shooting. We eventually set up camp where we had eaten. The location isn’t ideal because of the salt water pond right next to us. The mosquitos are really swarming. As I’m writing this it is after 10, the gunfire is sporadic, the music is still loud and crappy, and I’m being eaten alive while drinking salt water. At least it didn’t rain today. I finally got a picture of some antelope. I’ll be in town tomorrow. Also I finally hit the 800 mile mark.
I use whatever is available at the moment. There was cow poop aplenty.
“Even when we have physical hardships, we can be very happy.”
- Dalai Lama