May 10, 2016
Bushcamp (mile 522.1) to Tylerhorse
Canyon (mile 541.5)
Our campsite last night was a huge score. The wind died down to a pleasant breeze – just enough to keep the bugs away, the temperature remained mild and the ground, soft.
We both woke up excited for different reasons. Laurie excited to take pictures of the sunrise and Andy because he finally slept a night without his IT bands hurting. He may have figured out a system to sleep without waking up 4 or 5 times to reposition. The experiments continue…
We set off around 6:30am with the heat steadily intensifying. We walked on the widest trail yet – pavement covering the aqueduct and adjacent dirt road. We wandered back and forth – walking on both surfaces to offer variety for our feet.
Andy figured out how to attach the umbrella to his pack and happily walked along under a 3 foot circle of shade. After a shoes off break around 9:30am Gabriel loaned his umbrella to Laurie and the 3 of us continued on walking 3 abrest before the heat of the day scorched us. It must have been in the 80s before 10am.
Because of our early start and flat miles we completed our first 10 before 10 (10 miles before 10 am.) Suprisingly it felt anticlimactic – as if we already knew we could do it.
Talking with Gabriel as we walked provided a nice distraction for both of us and helped the miles roll by.
Around 11am we made it to Cottonwood Creek. At this wonderful oasis trail angels had left Gatorade and filtered water in a cooler. The city of Los Angeles maintain a faucet that unleashed beautifully cold water, and a bridge provided shade. Shade!!
We couldn’t believe how many hikers were taking a respite under the bridge. Some had stayed here the night before while others, like us, walked there throughout the morning.
We were reunited with James, Oolong, and Meta, hikers we hadn’t seen since Ziggy and the Bear’s. They all thought we were ahead of them and we thought they were ahead of us. Funny how that happens.
It was interesting seeing people again after a few weeks. Everyone looked a little more weathered: dirty, bearded and happy.
We rolled out our Tyvek, sat down and enjoyed lunch.
Soon we decided we’d wait out the heat of the day and hike again around 3pm.
More hikers we knew showed up, including Pornstar and Amanda. We also met new faces, including Tank Girl and High Roller.
We stretched, journaled and chatted with other hikertrash. Periodically we inched over as the sun encroached in our shade.
Finally around 3:30pm we got 7 liters of water for the 6 miles to a dry camp. Our hike was mainly through a wind farm and as the name suggests, it was very windy.
We had strong headwinds and knock-you-sideways winds. As strong as the winds were, we appreciated the cool air they delivered against our hot and sweaty bodies.
At 6pm we made it our projected campsite at mile 540.3. Two hikers in separate tents were already set up there, so we decided to hike on.
We climbed back into the wind and 1.5 miles later switchbacked down to Tylerhorse Canyon.
Many flat campsites greeted us along with a running stream. We don’t know what’s feeding this stream but we are very grateful for it.
We quickly chose a campsite and put up the tent, allowing Laurie to make our home for the night while Andy went to the stream to get water for tomorrow and the day after. We have a 25 mile waterless stretch ahead of us and are going to take 6 liters each- enough to last us until we get into the town of Mojave 1.5 days from now.
But tonight, we did not concern ourselves with this. We instead enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of crickets and a babbling brook.
Tonight we are grateful for bridges providing shade in the desert and intimate conversations with other hikers.