In Search of Shade

I wake up at 5:30am and see that I’ve unknowingly camped right next to Eleven, V, Duckats, Stealth and Mountain Goat! We break camp and hike together to a spring where we each collect and filter 6 liters of water. The next water is 20 miles away. We want to continue our “baby vampire” mode.

We look at our maps. It appears there’s a tent site about five miles away. We make plan to stop there and hide from the sun and then hike to the next water once it begins to set. As I hike on, I see that this next section is all in a burn. The mountainside of heat-withered and leafless trees is white and desperate.


I look five miles into the future and know there won’t be a tent site to shelter in. The scorched landscape provides no respite, so I hike on. Its 110 degrees. I pour electrolytes and chia seeds into my water bottle and pop open my chrome dome. I keep hoping that the burn will end over the next hill.

After hoping this five or six times, it’s finally true. It’s about 2pm when I find Milkman, Bumblebee, and Seahawk under some really amazing shade. I join them, rip off my shoes and socks, pull out my sleeping pad and let the breeze flow over me like cool water. It’s about 10 more miles to the next water, but I can’t move. I lay there until 5pm and then force myself into the last bit of the day’s heat.


Now the desert is mixed with pines and boulders. It’s a pleasant hike. I pass the 600 mile mark and make it to Robin Bird Spring by 10pm. Pushed by sun and water, I complete a 25 mile day.