Currently at Mile 370. Things are still going well overall. I’ve been hiking with an awesome group of hikers for most of the way, consisting of variously Dead Animal, Veggie, Hop.A.Long, Safari, Shags, and Drop Zone; earlier, Peter and Joseph were members of our crew. We call ourselves Team Teamwork, although that is of course mostly farcical, since we generally just give each other crap. Although I’m sure we’d help each other if the need arises.
So far, the trail has been almost consistently hot and dry, providing treeshade generally only at higher altitudes, at six or seven thousand feet above sea level. Otherwise, when below 4,000 feet or so, the only respite comes early or late in the day, when the natural meanderings of the trail provide shade once you turn one way or the other and the sun disappears behind a looming cliff. I have found that I am much more able to handle the elements than I was a few weeks ago, and we regularly wake up around 5 AM to take advantage of the coolness–not without some grumbling from me though. Also, I’ve continued my proclivity for town stops from my earlier adventures, which I argue are generally worth the effort. Hot food cooked by someone else, cold drinks, maybe some ice cream–these things are good for the stomach, and the muscles, and the soul.
This southern California, near-desert (and sometimes definitely-desert) is beautiful, without a doubt. We’ve ranged from around 1,000 up to 10,800 feet already, and have hiked on both hot sand and cold snow. The vegetation resembles something from a Dr. Seuss book, and some of the birds and reptiles fascinate with their shapes and colors. Highlights include various cacti, rattlesnakes, all kinds of shrubs and flowers, a horned lizard, birds with awesome birdsongs, and crazy bugs that stand on their heads at sundown.
Now, we’re taking a zero in the town of Wrightwood, waiting out the first really nasty weather since the night before my first day. Hurricane winds and windchill temps down towards zero degrees are inducing us to wait it out until tomorrow, especially with Mt. Baden-Powell waiting close to 10,000 feet. Also, there is the matter of Safari’s 21st birthday, and the necessary celebrations that have ensued.
Unfortunately, I have twenty minutes before the post office closes, so I am forced to cut this short. Until next time …