There is something psychologically unsettling about trudging headstrong into 40 miles of terrain that isn’t meant to, and doesn’t, support human life.
We woke up two frost cakes. A thin veneer of stiff white over our sleeping bags. Walking, and the rising sun, warmed up the land. A wrong turn that, initially, didn’t matter dropped us a 1/4 mile from our side trip for water. The spring bubbled out of a ravine. The rivulet flowed down canyon fifteen feet before disappearing in the sand. Poison oak, quite familiar to me as I was coming off a fresh pre trip case, choked the small stream bed. Dylan had to wind and maneuver for ten minutes to a person sized perch on a water side rock. Filtering enough water for two people over 38 miles required about forty minutes of perching. Hunched and still, he endured and dipped water.
Our initially harmless wrong turn led us to a mistaken map read, grueling hot descent, and corrective ascent back, before lunch. Dylan had an umbrella affixed to his pack for shade. The afternoon was HOT and dry. As the trail winds down into the San Felipe valley, it turns the wrong way to avoid hostile land owners. Dylan and I cursed them. The ridge traverse was seemingly endless. Tonight we camped on the far side of the valley. The San Felipe hills rise at our backs. They lead out of the desert valley to Barrel Springs. A full day still ahead to water. Were “slap-happy” from exhaustion.