Day 31 (Tape)

I guess Thursday. A month from the day we started. There’s somethin I like about recording these things once I’m snug in my sleeping bag and the day’s events and trials are kind of… seem distant and far away. But the day started off innocently enough as we woke up and packed up the tent. Walked for a couple miles. Ah, hit a dirt road and walked a little ways along that and started getting glimpses of the wind farm. Which is just like a long row, long rows of windmills on this ridge that kinda goes all along the ridge and is broken up in spots. And we spent most of the day in the vicinity of it. And ah, just after breakfast when we started climbing up to it we ah ran into a whole group of senior citizens walking down the trail. With their walking sticks and big smiles and Pacific Crest Trail button pins. And ah, they were all very enthusiastic about our trip and were taking pictures of us and asking the usual questions. And we didn’t think anything of it at the time, but we could’ve asked them for a favor. They probably could’ve helped us out a lot. But, we hadn’t realized the tragedy at that point. (laugh) So we just let em…

Pete: I had pull im out of my beard.

There have been ticks spotted today. But anyway, we let the old people go. And there was one young guy traveling with them, and he stopped to talk to us for a while. Just really, we kind of wondered what he was doing, but I’ve since thought that maybe they take one young strong male along just in case there’s an emergency and they have to run like hell for civilization.

Pete: I thought in hindsight that he had ah, he had a daypack on but it was a big daypack, and it was chock full. I couldn’t really remember anyone else really carrying anything.

Yeah, he was probably carrying their supplies. So ah, we left him and continued on up to the wind farm. And walked around, and through, and by, and under, and over windmills ah for most of the day. And so we got to the spring which was really I think 9, 9 1/2 miles into the day. We reached Golden Oaks Spring. And it was a pipe spring but it was in a heavy cattle area. There were piles of manure all around, and… actually the first thing we saw when we walked up to this spring was ah, it had a big old ah, telephone wire spool or something, tipped over as a table. And there was a hole in the middle of it, and stuck in the hole was a bag, with ah, some kind of book inside. And I looked at it, and I was like, it’s, somebody left us some porno on the trail! Inside the bag was a spoon, who knows what that was for, a pack of Marlboro mediums, with ah, I don’t know, probly eight or nine cigarettes left in it, and a cheap newspaper porno magazine. Specializing in peepers and watcher, and hairless pussies. We just ah, Pete took a picture of it. Just thought it was a funny joke somebody played thinking about what forlorn pacific crest trail hikers would want and need along the trail. So they left it there, it was kind of funny. (laugh) We didn’t partake really of either the cigarettes or the pornography, but just the fact that it was there was entertainment enough.

So the spring looked good, but it had a note to treat the water. And there were indeed a lot of cattle messes around. And so, ah, it was eighteen miles to the next water, and we began the process of ah, of filtering out about two gallons for ourselves. After we ate lunch of course. We got around to it. And my filter was the only one we had, because our hiker’s friend, Pete’s filter, long since just clogged up to almost a stop. And ah, this was something I had worried about a little bit in Mojave, but kind of ah, half-mentioned it to Pete, or mentioned it to him while he was on the phone. Just never really communicated it clearly. I was distressed about it myself, and kind of convienently forgot. Or, y’know, I’ve been using my filter so successfully, and back-filtering it (we have this little pre-filter on it), that I had kind of convinced myself before leaving that it would do the job for us for seven days. But part of me didn’t really believe that, but that part got distracted and never really surfaced again. So anyway, we tromped up into the mountains for a seven day stint with my filter, one filter. That had been used pretty heavily already. And we get to these springs, and ah, started pumpin em out. And after pumping four of them realized that it was very very very difficult. And it was just getting seriously clogged up. And I back-flushed our pre-filter, tried it again, and it was still very very difficult. And I back-flushed the regular filter, and tried it again, and it was still very very difficult. And we gradually came to admit to ourselves that ah, this filter was not going to provide water for us for the next seven days. And what to do about it? The first depressing, horribly grieving idea was to go back to Mojave and sit there and wait. Get in touch with Pete’s mom and wait for one to be express delivered. New filter, and start all over again. And ah, just the thought that we might have to do that made our hearts sink. And we just kind of fell immediately into terrible depression there while we thought what else we could do. But we had filtered out enough water, really, to get to the next springs. And ah, almost anyway. We were on our way there, we still had a couple bottles to go I guess. And we had two bottles worth of filtered water in the bladder. And finally what we decided to do, instead of going back to Mojave, is to continue on. To put the filtered water all in the bottles, we ended up having four bottles of filtered water, plus we each drank one. So we each were hydrated with one. And then to put a couple bottles worth of unfiltered water in the bladder, and we could boil it for purification later on. And that idea seemed passable, although we were still pretty much in the dark we are gonna get through the rest of our trip. And we started walking off again, really trying to do 10 miles to finish of the day somewhere around 20. And ah, we walked and I thought about it. And I started feeling better, I thought, you know, people survive on a hell of a lot less water than we usually use. And I started noticing how nice it was, and I didn’t feel threatened by the situation too much anymore. And ah, reading through the guide book it looked like the next couple of water sources would not require any filtering. So that kind of gave me hope. But there’s definitely the nagging problem that the water along this section is notoriously bad, and polluted by cattle. And ah we don’t have a filter to filter it out. And ah, it’s still reality, but we ah, continued along. And it got kind of late in the afternoon we ran into a hiker coming the other way. And this time we stopped and talked to him and grabbed him and said hey… asked him when he was planning on… what section he was doing and when he was planning on getting out. And it turned out he was planning on just going to the highway and getting out on Saturday. So ah, we gave a little note, and he promised us he’d make a phone call to Pete’s mom when he gets out. And so ah, he’ll get out on Saturday and we’ll probably hit Walker Pass on Sunday. And ah, hopefully what will happen is, he’ll call Pete’s mom on Saturday. And in the best of all worlds she’ll get in gear and ah, bring a filter and also the guidebook we lack for the next section. That’s Walker Pass on Sunday, either leave it there for us or meet us there when we get there. And then we’ll have the ability to filter water until Kennedy Meadows 51 miles further on. So that kind of gave us some hope. And he was a really friendly guy, we kind of exchanged a couple little stories and some other information. And ah, went on our separate ways. And ah, went to, got to camp. We only really probably went a mile and half further, and ah hit some nice camping spots so we stopped. (end of tape)

I got to the part where hit some camping spots. We went ahead and stopped. Successfully ah, really successfully actually, used all our unfiltered water to boil and cook dinner. And ah, we boiled some more and had ah, hot cocoa. Which we dipped our dessert cookies in, it was delicious. And used the last of it to soak our cereal in the morning. So really we ah, we used the unfiltered water really efficiently, and I was pretty happy about that. And, oh, we still have ah some tricks to pull to get through these next few days, and to Walker Pass. And ah, keep ourselves hydrated. We might go a little bit short of drinking water or get a little thirsty in spots but I’m really not worried about. I think after our experience tonight that we have the ability to get through it just fine. So ah, we’ll see. And I’ll record any other trials and tribulations we have of course, in the future.

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