Day 18: Forest to Desert

Start: Mile 602.1

End: Mile 623.3

Miles Hiked = 21.2

Once again I was up at first light and on the trail by 6:20am. It was another beautiful morning and I enjoyed walking along the cool forested trail. There were several streams in the first seven miles so I didn’t have to carry much water to start with.

I met a hiker and his beagle named Coco. They hiked the Appalachian Trail last year and are now hiking the PCT. Impressive. Coco reminded me of Beau (our current beagle – Donna and I have had three). Beagles are scent hounds and are therefore guided by their nose. I couldn’t imagine Beau hiking any long-distance trail – he is usually too busy stopping to fully explore a new scent. Way to go Coco!

A short while later I almost stepped on this baby rattlesnake in the middle of the trail. It was only maybe 15 inches long. I tried to scoot it to the side with my trekking pole and it went into a defensive “strike” position.

So I took its picture and walked around it.

About six miles into this mornings hike I stopped and filtered two liters of water. The next natural water source was something like twenty-eight miles away. There was supposed to be a Trail Angel maintained water cache in about eight miles. I was counting on that water being there.

In any event, the trail soon left the cool forest and re-entered more of a desert environment.

After a couple more hours of walking I reached the road where the water cache was supposed to be. I came around a bend in the trail and there it was.

Thank you Trail Angels!

I stopped and filtered another couple liters of water and had lunch. Guthook (the trail app) indicated that there would be another water cache in sixteen miles. I wouldn’t get there until tomorrow morning but again, I was counting on it being there. I only took what I needed for the rest of the afternoon, evening and next morning.

Soon I was back on the trail and hiking up a steady incline for the next several miles.

Late in the afternoon I set up my tent amongst the Joshua Trees and enjoyed a nice evening and sunset. It was nice to camp alone and not be surrounded by a bunch of other hikers like the previous two nights when I camped at water sources.

Thanks for following.

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