Day 5: mile 74.4 to 94.4 (20 miles, 32 km)
I was up with the sun again this morning, really loving the early rises. My goal at the moment is to get as many miles in during the cool morning air so that I may have time to rest up in the heat of the day and keep moving into the evening.
Another hot night overnight, by morning it was fairly cool but as soon as the sun was up you could feel the heat on exposed skin.
I made it to Scissors Crossing around 7am to stock up on water from another cache that is maintained for hikers. I’d carry 5 litres today just to be sure as the temp is expected to peak around 37-38C again.
These caches are amazing. The time and dedication complete strangers give to help out hikers is incredible. Caches typically have a donation jar and I made sure I left a couple of dollars.
A few of the crew that slept under the bridge were still milling about getting sorted for the day ahead. I said my goodbyes and was off.
Right through the morning the trail led up. A gradual climb, contouring around the side of a range, but always up. This was your classic desert picture with 3 or 4 different types of cacti within every view, sparse and low vegetation. Here and there scattered stunted Juniper bushes filled the air with their sweat aroma.
My aim for the day was to get to the 3rd gate water cache, another critical water cache location on the trail. This would have been around 16 miles for the day.
It took all day at a slow but steady pace to reach the cache around 3pm. Once filled I decided to wait out the blazing heat. Luckily the cache area is in amongst one of the few spots with taller vegetation and there were amble nooks to curl up under the inviting shade.
There were around a dozen hikers doing the same but most I had never met so I suspect most are the crew that hikes through the night. With the heat so intense during the day lots of hikers are using a strategy of start walking on dusk and move through the night to around 2 or 3 am, then sleeping through the heat of the day. I might try this if it stays super hot but there just doesn’t seem to be that much shade to hold up under during the day and I ain’t sleeping in a tent all day in the blazing sun.
Around 5:45pm I started up the trail again expecting to do another hour or so, until I found a nice camp. The problem was, every campsite I came to was way too exposed to the wind and I had to keep on trucking. I didn’t plan to do a 20 mile day but here I am. I found a nice spot somewhat sheltered by some junipers which was better than nothing, calling it quits for the day.
My legs are doing good. The muscle soreness has dissipated. Still managing some blisters and my heals are starting to crack. I have superglue if they get any worse- what’s the remedy for this?