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Day 5-7: Life in the Desert

Day 5: Mile 45.5-59.5; 14 miles
Day 6: Mile 59.5-72; 12.5 miles
Day 7: Mile 72- 87; 15 miles

The past three days have continued to be beautiful and filled with fun experiences. In order to give folks a sense of our new lifestyle we decided to focus this post on the details of one day, day 6.

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6 AM: Woke up after a very windy and foggy night. Both of us were awakened several times during the night by the wind pummeling the fabric of our tent. We changed into hiking clothing and packed up sleeping bags, tent, and other gear. Then we ate granola with powdered milk for breakfast.

7 AM: Started hiking in the cooler part of the day, just after sunrise. The wind was so strong it was hard to balance at times. We chatted with a fellow thru hiker named Dazzle as we walked through rolling hills in the Anza Borrego Desert.

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9:30 AM: Took a short break and ate a granola bar. Lent our solar panel to Dazzle, who attached it to the top of his pack. He returned it a few miles down trail after his phone was recharged.

9:40 AM: Continued hiking. Observed many wildflowers – nightshade, Indian paintbrush, and bush poppy were the flowers we recognized. I (Anna) am trying to learn more about desert plants. Sometimes one of us will take a picture of a flower or leaves while hiking and then try to ID the plant later during our siesta.

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10:30 AM: We stopped briefly for Anna to treat the first blister of the hike.

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10:40 AM: Hike on!

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12:00 PM: Arrived at a water tank and refilled some of our empty water containers. It had been 15 miles since our last water source, so we had been carrying 10 pounds of water each. Here we also ate a lunch of cheese and tortillas and rested in the shade.

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3:00 PM: Started hiking again. The trail hugged the mountainside and slowly decended. As we dropped to a lower elevation, we saw more cacti, including hedgehog and beavertail cacti which were flowering with lovely pink blossoms.

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5:00 PM: Stopped at a dry creek bed and decided to set up camp there. No rain was expected until the following evening, so the creek bed stayed dry while we were there.

6:00 PM: Made broccoli cheddar rice on our alcohol stove. Added olive oil for extra calories and flavor. Had a Kit Kat for dessert in the desert (fortunately not desert in the dessert.)

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7:00 PM: Put our food into a critter-proof bag, organized gear, laid out pads and sleeping bags. Consulted maps to plan our next day.

8:00 PM: Zzzzzz.

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That’s it for day 6. Here are a few highlights from days 5 and 7:

– Watching the sun rise over the the Sawtooth Range. Awesomely beautiful! The desert has a stark and dramatic beauty that can be stunning.
– Trail angels Pinkie and Dead Animal surprised us with trail magic of pie and root beer near Scissors Crossing.
– Saw our first rattlesnake, about 10 feet from the trail. It was coiled and rattling!

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25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ang #

    Do you have super cool trail names yet? I vote “Sheep” for one of you. :)

    April 25, 2012
    • Ang #

      So Charles tells me this seems like a rude comment. I think it’s a hipster comment, because I knew the electric sheep before this blog was cool. Or existed. Anyway, I figure.. if a person has to ask, they don’t need to know. So there.

      April 26, 2012
      • Hahaha, Ang, stop being rude on our blog and calling us names! Actually I think it’s just me you’re calling names. Hmmm…

        But yes, you knew me back when I was a city slicker, not the hiker trash I am now. Soon to be scraggly bearded hiker trash at that!

        April 27, 2012
    • We haven’t been bestowed with trail names yet, though we are itching for it to happen.

      I know which one of us that is! But here in the wilderness, I might be an acoustic goat instead of an electric sheep…

      April 27, 2012
  2. I love the photos! It brings the trail into my living room…what an experience to share! I applaud your efforts to be so organized and self-less to journal this for your readers. Thank you!

    April 25, 2012
    • Thanks Dad! It definitely takes more time to compose a blog post on our phones, but we are very happy to make the effort in order to share our experiences. And glad you like the photos! That means a lot coming from a photographer!

      April 27, 2012
  3. Moment Matters #

    As I cruise along, I got more jealous of your adventures!! Hope to find a hiking buddy too

    April 25, 2012
    • Thanks, glad you are following along! There is no substitute to getting out and experiencing nature for yourself, and doing it with friends is great. Hope it works out for you!

      April 27, 2012
  4. Suzanne #

    Is that a ninja chick on your shoulder? Great photos. Glad you are seeing lots of flowers.

    April 25, 2012
  5. You two are too cute! Did you match on purpose? I’m happy that Cheep Cheep gets to have such adventures with you! The flowers must be perfect pops of color in the desert shrubbery.

    April 26, 2012
    • Thanks Mags! We don’t like to match but we found the best clothes for each of us and they happened to match, and neither of us would compromise, so there it is. Haha. Cheep Cheep is having a great time. And yes, the flowers are awesome, even more so when you realize how hard they have to fight to survive. I feel everything in the desert becomes more beautiful after you live here alongside it and understand the harshness of this place.

      April 27, 2012
  6. Jan #

    So glad to see Cheep Cheep out enjoying the dessert! So what’s with the disembodied hands at the water tank?

    April 26, 2012
    • Cheep Cheep is having a great time out here! The water tank had a big faucet in a concrete enclosure, and you had to stick your hands in there to get to the faucet. Hard to portray in pictures. I think that tank is filled by a fire truck occasionally.

      April 27, 2012
  7. Jan #

    The pictures are fantastic. Love that dinner you are cooking. I wonder how many photographers have to have all that weight on their backs when taking a picture of a flower!!

    April 26, 2012
    • Thanks Mom! Only the crazy photographers have that much weight, especially when there are cacti behind. But there are a few of us crazy ones I suppose…

      April 27, 2012
  8. Margaret #

    Glad you 2 like cheese! What else do you use for protein?

    April 26, 2012
    • We sure do! For protein we like nuts, vegan jerky, quinoa, granola bars, dried hummus, bean or lentil soup, and fake bacon bits. However, while protein is important, our biggest need is calories in the form of fat and carbohydrates, since we are burning 4000 calories a day. You can see our food page for more info.

      April 27, 2012
  9. Bob Bertsch #

    It is raining in Cincinnati and I am having trouble sending a package back through FedX. I accidentally clicked on your email and immediately felt much better looking at the pics. THANK YOU!!!

    April 26, 2012
    • Yay! Glad the pictures put a smile on your face. I really hope we don’t have any shipping issues on this hike. Picked up our first packages today and all went smoothly.

      April 27, 2012
  10. Joe Sofranko #

    Never thought anyone would find a way to use “dessert” and “desert” in the same sentence and ACTUALLY mean it, not just in some grammar school exercise.

    April 26, 2012
    • Yes! I’m glad you found our dessert and desert comment as entertaining as we did! We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

      April 27, 2012
  11. Suzanne #

    Aah Cheep Cheep! Good name. Did you guys get rain this morning?

    April 26, 2012
    • Ha, oops, I guess I didn’t explain the mysterious ninja chick on my shoulder in the picture. You are correct, that is Cheep Cheep, our pet bird who travels everywhere with us. :-) She’s great at making us laugh and keeping us in good spirits.

      We got a bit of rain but not enough to make the desert creek beds flow. The wind on the other hand was crazy intense.

      April 27, 2012
  12. opdykewillig #

    Cheep Cheep joins the adventure. She must weigh less than an ounce! :)

    April 28, 2012
    • Yup, she’s less than an ounce and the laughter she brings us is completely worth the extra weight. Plus she eats all the mosquitos in our tent!

      April 29, 2012

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