Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 5 and 6

We got a bit of a late start after our long day on Monday.  After looking at the map and water sources we decided to try to get to the first water source, 9 miles, by late morning, eat quick, and press on to the next one, another 13.  Scarecrow and I reached the first at Scissors Crossing around 11 or so.  It was a tank covered with a tarp that someone who lives in the area keeps full.  Reliable natural water sources are pretty scarce.

I ate a few snacks near the cache while Scarecrow went looking for shade.  The next 13-mile leg to Third Gate took us up the side of a steep ridge.  The trail then follows the ridge northwest at a fairly steady elevation, it just weaves in and out of every ravine.  The whole area was pretty spectacular, like a giant cactus garden, a bit more interesting than the endless sagebrush.  The problem was we were climbing it at noon, decent cloud cover, but it was still hot.  I had 5 liters of water weighing me down too, since it was 13 miles to the next source and we thought we may have to stop for the night before reaching it.  It's also a wise idea to have some extra, since water caches are done voluntarily by trail angels.  We'd heard the cache at the Third Gate was well stocked though, at least 50 gallons.

We ended up stopping 4-5 miles short of Third Gate.  Steve and I caught up to Scarecrow, laying in a sandy creek bed that was too tempting for us to pass up.  Steve had planned on making it all the way and didn't really have enough water to stop for the night, but Scarecrow and I coaxed him with some of ours and got him to stay, so we made camp.

The wind was crazy that night.  It'd be totally calm for a while and out of nowhere it'd be gusting 30+ mph.  I'd staked my tent in sand so right about when I was falling asleep, the wind pulled up a stake and my tent collapsed.  I fixed it and put a rock on the stake.  Should have found more rocks because I had to get up two more times that night to fix the others.

The next morning we reached the Third Gate water cache.  There were about 100 gallon jugs all piled under some low bushes, about half were still full.  I don't know how far it is from a road but someone puts in a lot of work to get it in there.  A few people we'd met the day before were there getting water too.

It was about 10 miles past that to the next water, Barrel Spring.  I ended up jogging about the last 5-6 miles of it since it was a fairly gradual downhill.  I passed mile 100!  Near the spring the sagebrush went away and was replaced by grass and trees.  It seemed like a fairly sudden transition.  The spring comes out up a hill a couple hundred yards where it flows into a pipe.  The pipe goes down to a shaded, grassy area where 10 or so people had camped.  Scarecrow went to try to hitch a ride into town.  I made lunch and waited for Steve.

Steve is planning to meet a friend in the next town, Warner Springs, at mile 109.  We decided to go a bit beyond Barrel Spring and hike to Warner in the morning.  Most of the next 3-4 miles was through a series of huge rolling meadows.  We caught up to Scarecrow camped near a creek.  While we were setting up a dozen or so cows came over to investigate.  They had Steve surrounded until he finally chased them off with his sleeping pad.

Clouds had been rolling in all day and it started raining a bit after dark.  It rained off and on much of the night.  I didn't get wet though.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you, Steve and Scarecrow play leap frog along the trail. Thank goodness for trail angels for supplying caches with water.