May 16, 2017
Casa de Luna – Maxwell Trail Camp (478.23-492.96)
When I awoke this morning, it was cold, and a lot of condensation had formed overnight, and everything I owned was soaked. I decided to ignore the issue for the time being, and stumbled out to the front of the house for breakfast. There was coffee on the table outside and pancakes inside in the kitchen. It was glorious. Coffee and pancakes in the morning can make almost anything better. While we were sitting around eating, the sun came out, so we returned to the backyard and exploded all of our belongings around the lawn in a good old fashioned hiker yard sale.
The sun worked its magic, and almost everything became surprisingly dry before too long. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had been anticipating hiking out a sopping wet mess. We got a ride back to the trailhead with one of the trail angel volunteers, and were hiking by around 10:30am. Of course, we started the day with a nice big climb. I think I’m definitely getting stronger on the uphills. We had two big climbs today, and they were difficult, but definitely not as difficult as they would have been when we first started out.
When we neared the top, we got awesome views of the desert below, which we’ll be entering in a couple of days. We cruised along some awesome flat and downhill sections before stopping for a lunch break. The hiking was really nice today. The trail was beautiful, with great views of the desert hills, and it was mostly sunny but not too hot.
During the second big climb of the day, we got to stop halfway up at a water source. Unfortunately, the “trailside spring” turned out to be a tiny trickle, and it took forever to fill up my 2L bladder with water that was brown and cloudy. My water filter worked like magic though, and my bottle filled with crystal clear water. So awesome.
As we continued climbing, I noticed the some areas of the sky were filled with somewhat threatening-looking grey clouds. I really didn’t want a repeat of yesterday, so I tried to book it to camp as fast as I could. The afternoon hiking was really interesting. We went through a burn area for a while, but once we got out of that we entered hills that were covered in lush green vegetation. It was really nice.
We arrived at the spot where we planned to camp, which is supposedly a “trail camp”, but I don’t think there’s really anything here other than a water cistern filled with really funky water. Gummies and I were joined by Adam and another hiker, and there are another couple of guys camped nearby. I haven’t seen Cougar and Dr. McDirty since our lunch spot, so they must have stopped to camp somewhere a bit further back. We all sat on some logs together to eat dinner. I had instant mashed potatoes for the second time on this trip, and I was actually able to finish them without feeling like dying this time. Hiker hunger for the win.
After dinner, Gummies and I went down to the cistern to get some water. You had to use an old dirty plastic jug to scoop water out of a stagnant, green pool. There were definitely a lot of things living in there, and a couple of little worms ended up inside my platypus. The water has a greenish brown tinge to it that didn’t go away when filtered, and it doesn’t taste the best. Might have to cover that up with some electrolyte powder. But as a comment on the Guthook app said, “hydrate or die”.
I’m now cozied up in my tent, super happy that everything is nice and dry. I can hear a bit of a wind blowing, but since we’re tucked away in the pine forest we seem to be somewhat sheltered. As I was writing this, the light outside turned a really weird shade of pink, and I peeked out of my tent to see the sky was totally filled with bright pink and purple clouds as the sun went down. It would have been an awesome sunset to see from a site on the ridge, but I’m still glad to be within the shelter of the pines.