5-24 Ever Propelled by the Universal Solvent

by sedona maniak

Camping dry takes some planning.  I am very careful with water, usually carrying a liter more than most hikers. Call it a desert rat's paranoia, if you like.  When we reached the 50 gallon water cache, I grabbed three liters, bringing my total back up to five.  Yes, 11 lb.  Not the end of the world, but it adds up.

Day 2 of the Mojave led me up and up through my former workplace, and after several energy-draining hours, I finally hit the silty Tylerhorse Canyon spring, only six miles from my starting point and at nearly noon.  Some days tie anvils to your feet and drag you through cold molasses on a hot day.  Evidently, everyone on the trail was just as drained.  The only shade tree, a huge scrub oak, had nine hikers sprawled under it in varying degrees of recline.  I waited four hours to continue.  And there was nothing but up and wind.  

Ahead was a hill, both the straight up and straight down parts. It was followed by a mountain, with long, flat switchbacks up 2200 feet.  The wind picked up to a steady 35-40mph.  Gusts to 60.  I was blown off the trail a few times and onto the ground twice.  A large garter snake appeared just in time for me to trip over my trekking poles to avoid squashing it.  I flipped on my headlamp and continued uphill against the wind, stopping to catch another juvenile gopher snake.  I'm a sucker for snakes.

Around 9pm, I saw Windsong and Pinecone shining their lights against the burned out oaks and rabbit brush.  They'd saved some space in the moderately windblocked ridgetop near the water cache.  Grateful and exhausted, I hid from the gusts.  At midnight, the goddamned wind stopped, just to spite me.

imagine 60mph wind gusts here

imagine 60mph wind gusts here