It was windy all night, windy all morning, and windy all day today.
The trail stayed high along the ridge of the mountains for most of the day, which meant continuing sweeping views but, again: wind. We got kinda sick of the wind.
The morning’s main event was making it to the Third Gate Water Cache, an impressively organized and stocked cache of bottled water—gallon jugs, six jugs to a box, and many, many boxes in what was originally three tarp-covered stacks. Enough hikers have come through to reduce that to one and a half stacks. Someone buys? donates? the water and then trucks it in on a dirt road to a spot about a quarter mile off the trail. The generosity and support extended to thru-hikers continues to amaze us.
After the cache it was back to desert hiking. Not particularly compelling desert hiking, honestly. The sun beats down, it’s too windy for the umbrellas to provide shade while walking, and then it’s guaranteed that as soon as you want to stop for lunch, there’s no shade to be found.
We decided to aim for the next water source as our stopping point for the night, which would bring our mileage to 18 total. Eighteen miles is most definitely farther than I’ve ever backpacked in a day—though still less than what we’re going to need to work up to doing daily in order to beat winter to Canada.
It was a long day. No shade, more of the same meh desert, and enough miles to make my ankles start complaining. But this is part of thru-hiking, too—I’m guessing it’s the bulk of it, honestly—you just keep walking, even when it’s not especially fun. Not every day is a magical vista around every corner. But eventually you get to a stopping point, you eat some rehydrated mashed potatoes, and you pass the eff out by 9PM. Then you get up and do it again the next day.
We made it to Mile 100 today!
18 miles hiked, Mile 83.2 to 101.2 Barrel Spring