Saturday, May 11, 2019 – 15.20 miles
The sky was beautifully blue when I woke up this morning. I continued through the pines to Landers Camp, which is 0.2 miles off-trail but has a tank with water presumably of better quality than the creeks surrounded by cow droppings. eTrails describes the Piute Road source as ‘trickles through cow pies and has an oily sheen’. How has Nestle not purchased it yet? Landers Camp was busy with hikers and more arrived while I was there. I was surprised, having seen only three people yesterday and none the day before. Most must have passed me after I made camp yesterday.
Because of my unplanned flip, I’m short on food this leg. How short? Short to the extent that I’ve counted my peanut M&Ms to ration them. My mother once told me that she has to eat small portions and go hungry much of the time to maintain her weight (A DEPRESSING GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE) so maybe I’m getting insight into the slowing metabolism of the wise. Whatever the case, I was hungry and worried, but miserable weather leads to a better appreciation of good weather, and the sunlight made me cheerful as the trail dropped back into Joshua trees and shrubbery.
As I neared the large water cache at Kelso Road, grey clouds began moving in. The distant rain and gloom contrasted nicely with the bright patch of blue sky in the other direction and lent a dramatic quality of light to the landscape.
A spatter of rain fell with a few thunderclaps as accompaniment, but perversely the rain lasted for only the exact length of time it took for me to put on all of my rain clothes. The thunderstorm slipped past and I sweated under my plastic in the sunlight, finally removing the rain clothes during a long climb with more fantastic views of Joshua trees and valleys.
One of the hikers I met today had decided to cowboy camp on a ledge. It had a stellar view, but was almost enough of a death trap to quality for @youdidnotsleepthere.
By the end of the day, clouds were rolling in again. Finding a place to camp was a miserable affair with all the cow droppings and no information in eTrails about potential campsites in the area. AZT resurrected! I wandered down a gully, then above the trail for awhile, then down another gully and finally found a flattish spot without cow pies. It’s not a death trap, but rather a poked-savagely-by-thorns-that-dissuaded-the-cows trap.