Day 36, 22 miles
So, I am coming up to the dreaded 42 mile waterless stretch. I am worried and nervous. I have been dwelling on this for days and I’ve thought of a great strategy. Set out early, hike the 7 miles to our last water at 609. Set up my tent, eat, hydrate, rest all day. Set out again, with 7-8 liters at 4 pm, hike 15 miles in the cool and dark, cowboy camp around 10, sleep 6 hours then tackle the remaining 27 waterless miles. It’s going to be very tough.
The 7 miles to 609 was very pretty. I was there early and other hikers trickle in. I am quietly resting in my tent. I hear a motor bike in the distance, coming closer, getting louder. The rider pulls up beside all of us solemn hikers. It’s trail angel Cinnabun. She updates the vital water report in this area and I have been seeing her name as I study and watch for updates. “There are 3 water caches, 616, 631, and McIvers Spring cabin at 644!” BEST! NEWS! EVER!!!! What a relief. She tells us we are in the top 100 2016 PCT thru hikers to come through! And there are 1000s of hikers behind us! Cinnabun takes our food orders and returns with grandson Cinnabug, and sandwiches, drinks, veggies, chips strawberries! It’s like Christmas on the PCT and Cinnabun is Santa Claus. Trail magic.
After a couple hours rest at Bird Spring, I was back hiking at 3:30. I loved hiking through the shady forest. I stopped for dinner at the mile 616 water cache, then headed out for a tent site 8 miles away. The trail zigzagged up to a sandy and very windy desert. The wind got so strong it was difficult to hike. The sun was setting, it was a beautiful sky. I had to find a place to camp in the fierce wind.
I tried to set up my tent but the wind blew it up and over, pegs pulled up and out of the sand. This was with all my gear inside weighing it down. It was now dark. I hunkered down under a Joshua tree and tried to cowboy camp. I was getting blown around in my bag. I packed up, stumbling around in the dark and wind. I moved further from the trail to another slightly more protected spot under another Joshua tree. It was now 10 pm. The wind was so loud as it battered against my sleeping bag. I was scared. I hadn’t seen any of my trail friends since Bird Spring when I left at 3:30 and I had been hiking alone since. I kept dreaming I heard voices trying to shout over the wind. I didn’t get much sleep.