Day 30 mile 465.6 – 488.2

Elevation: ascent 4,961 ft, descent 4,094 ft

Well today is our 30th day of hiking. I can’t believe we basically have been hiking for a month (not including our rest days). As we enter more of the “desert” our daily planning becomes more of a focus based on water sources. This spring has been unusual wet in this area, as a local told us they received about 5 inches of rain in April versus their typical 1/4-1/2 inch. This has been great because the plants, grasses and trees remain green. It also means that water sources can be a bit more reliable. Never the less we still find it harder hiking in the desert because sources of water even at these times aren’t abundant and with warmer temps we need to make sure that we have enough water to stay hydrated.

We set the alarm for 6:00 trying to get an early start to beat the heat especially with an uphill climb to start the day. The morning was gorgeous and being in some shade and cool temps it was an easy climb the first 4.5 miles and as we reached the top of the climb we were caught be a group of trail runners out for a training run. The 5 of them were super nice and had a bunch of questions for us about our trip and logistics. We were more than happy to answer their questions. After they took off to finish their run we found ourselves descending into a valley.

Most of today we spent climbing hills in the exposed sun on southern facing slopes while our descents were on more northern facing slopes covered with oak and cottonwood trees in the shade. We would have loved it to have been reversed but oh well guess we can’t ask for everything 🤣.

Early in the day we ran across many small seasonal streams that were flowing well. However, due to our planning and not knowing they were there we didn’t need to collect water since we had enough. Later in the day this changed. Most of the streams were dried up even some of the ones that were last reported as flowing. Here in the desert we typically rely on three different types of water sources. It can be a seasonal stream, a spring, or a water cache maintained by a trail angel. This year some of the water caches aren’t being stocked so we rely more on streams and springs. Now when you hear stream or spring you probably have envisions of clear cool water that looks very tasty. Well that isn’t always the case. Some are just cloudy pools that you have to scoop water from and then filter using our Sawyer Filter which removes bacteria. Here are some examples of our water sources today.

The frustrating thing is when you hear about a spring that is flowing only 3-4 days ago, only to come up on the spring and find it dry. This causes difficulties in planning our days and also results in us carrying more water just in case the next water source is dry, which is HEAVY. When you do find a good source we try to camel up, drink a lot, in hopes that it helps get us to the next water without having to carry too much extra.

We were treated to some very lush areas, gorgeous flowers (one we think belongs in a Dr Seuss book) and some cool reptiles (no rattle snakes 🤣).

“Dr Seuss Flower”

Due to the terrain and water sources we ended up having to do a bigger day again, 22.6 miles. We both commented that it seems like the end of our days results in some BIG climbs right at the end and today was no different. We ended up climbing about 1,200 feet the last 2.4 miles which felt like it was straight up. On the way up we passed by several small caves but chose not to explore more than just sticking our heads in to take a peak.

We got to what appears to be a great tent site and were getting cleaned up when I noticed that I had picked up a hitchhiker sometime today. A small tick was using me for dinner, UGH!! While trying to remove this little sucker we where greeted by another much larger animal. A steer or ox came sauntering right by our camp 😳.

Now it’s off to bed and to start planning for tomorrow. Thanks for following along. Link