15.9 miles (55.9 to 71.8), plus 0.8 mile round trip walk to water at Sunrise Trailhead
Night is a bit scary. My tent bends and tosses but manages to stay upright. At one point I get up to check on Dad. He claims he’s warm enough. I offer to share my tent but he declines on the grounds that he doesn’t fit inside my tent by himself. Neither of us gets much sleep. In the morning, the wind still carries away anything that isn’t staked down. We manage to pack up and eat breakfast. My cereal tastes mildly rancid.
No matter how frustrating getting out of camp can be, once we’re back on the trail, all seems right with the world. Even that mind-bending wind doesn’t seem so horrid. In no time at all we reach the fork to Sunrise Trailhead. I stroll right on by, thinking we couldn’t possibly be here yet. But then, something makes me stop and check our position, and sure enough this is our last chance for water until Scissors Crossing.
We wander down the side trail and cross a road and find our way to the tank and trough where we will collect our next 24 hours worth of water. It is not an inspiring sight. I knew what to expect, but seeing the green water in person is a very different experience than reading about it on someone else’s blog. We fill up with enough water for almost 20 miles of hiking plus a dry camp tonight. I walk away with seven liters – probably overkill, but at this point I’d rather suffer with a few extra pounds than run out of water.
The next miles pass quickly. When the wind finally dies down, I bring out my umbrella to cut the direct sunshine. As usual, Dad and I are both ready for lunch at the same time, but we have a steep climb ahead of us, and I’d like to make the climb before eating, whereas Dad is ready to break in the shade now. We agree to separate now and reconnect up above.
At lunch, I air out my feet. I confirm that my new shoes are rubbing on the top of my foot just enough to leave a red mark, but no blister yet. As I put my socks back on, however, I discover two small blisters on the outside of my foot. Damn. I switch to the Altras for the rest of the day to avoid further foot aggravation. Carrying a second pair of shoes is worth the weight…for now.
The water from the horse trough tastes bad. Really bad. While it does taste better than it looks, it’s hard to swallow a mouthful without involuntarily cringing. Still, I make a point of guzzling water. I do not want to get dehydrated, which is why I’m carrying so many liters in the first place. By late afternoon, however, I’m thirsty. I drink more, and more, and more – with electrolytes, even – and I’m still thirsty.
When we stop in the evening to set up camp I realize I only consumed 3.5 liters of water for 12+ miles of desert hiking, plus lunch and dinner. Turns out I wasn’t guzzling water – it only seemed so because the water tasted so bad. No wonder I’m so thirsty. In camp, I chug water. The faster it goes down, the less of it I taste.
*Thank you for following my adventure! I’m compiling these blog posts at the end of each day when I’m not at full mental capacity and unlikely to catch typos, autocorrect or otherwise. Thank you for your patience.*
More photos on Instagram.