The lizards have become one of my favorite trail companions, although, considering how they rush to avoid me, I am afraid this is not mutual! This lizard did not rush away.
Today has a good deal of elevation gain and was almost purely shadeless desert. Much of the up hill in the early day was in loose sand.
I do not know if it was hills of loose hot sand, simply the relentless sun, or just the cycle of the trail…but today was truly a struggle.
At about mile 15 I reached the well stocked water cache at Bird Song Pass. These caches are an incredible blessing!! This one and the Kelso Road cache are maintained by one very kind and thoughtful man, I was told.
I was not out of water, I was not hurting, and my feet have been wonderfully pain free. My pack was not too heavy and I had food. No, I had no excuse, but I did not want to go on.
Now of course, if you do choose to stop in the desert, a water cache is not a bad choice. But it is really never a good idea to stop for long periods of unplanned time on a desert trail. The truth is I was bone and soul tired. A couple of days earlier I had met a young man, Brave Heart, headed back to Tehachapi. He told me he was , “Done, had enough, going home to Wisconsin ”
He was young and strong. Why was he quitting? We never know what causes people to make the decisions they make. It is never our place to judge, and far more important, it is dangerous to entertain thoughts that are borne of these interchanges.
For the last two days, in the back of my mind, I had thought of Brave Heart’s words, “it isn’t fun anymore.”
“Was it fun? Was I having fun carrying too much water in shadeless heat across hot dry mountains?” This, like a worm, had settled in my mind and began to eat away at my resolve.
So I lay in the shade of a Joshua Tree with lethargy in my limbs and the beginning of despondence in my soul.
“Hello, oh that’s just Willy getting water. Did we bother you?” I looked up, a sweet tiny lady with an enormous pack and a twinkling smile stood a few feet from me. Do you remember Glenda, the good witch in the Wizard of Oz? Remember her sweet voice and tinkling laughter, like the sound of tiny bells… this tiny lady sounded just like Glenda.
We spoke briefly, really, but she told me how difficult this section was but how she loved it. How she loved the desert and always chose to hike here. Willy said very little. My little lady’s name is Holly and she is 71 years old.
I call them both angels, Holly and Willy. I can not find any other way to explain the sudden joyful change in my heart. The sudden energy in my legs and lightness in my soul. When we pray we may never know how God will answer our prayers. But sometimes he might send angels.
The last 13 miles had some stiff uphill sections but a light heart makes the uphill so much easier.
David posted the Eagle Rock photo from near Warner Springs. I found what I call owl rock.
Perhaps not destined for equal fame with Eagle Rock, it was amusing to me.
Above you can see the dramatic change from the desert to pine forests. A welcomed relief for this woman walking home to the Northwest.
I camped at mile 644; McIvers Spring where water flows in gallons from a piped spring.