Sandy Dry Creek Bed Campsite to Third Gate Trail, CA
Today we started late...imagine that. Today's excuse is that the sun didn't enter our tent until late since we slept in a canyon. When we did get going we were pleasantly surprised that our campsite was at the top of the hill, so we didn't have anymore climbing to do. All of the mornings hike took us in and out of mountain creases overlooking the valley we walk across yesterday.
We stopped for lunch and realized that we had to conserve water since we had 6.5 miles to go and only enough water for 5 miles...oh, and by the way, my thermometer was reading close to 100 degrees! I made hummus for lunch, but we couldn't eat much since the more we ate the thirstier we got. So, off we went in search of water.
Not long after lunch we finally turned east and went to the other side of the hills for a different view.
Let me tell you...this desert hiking is not easy. We had heat, wind, and was thirsty all afternoon. We knew that the water was at the third pipe gate, so we started counting gates. Here is a picture of gate 2. I must have been very thirsty passing gate 1, because I forgot to take a picture of it.
My goal of gate 2 was to have 1 liter of water left for the last 3 miles. In order to do this I would fill my mouth with water and swish it around my mouth before swallowing which seemed to work. Now that I have a full liter left I can be a bit less careful for the last 3 miles.
I did not stop to take any pictures between gates 2 and 3. Every corner I went around I just hoped I would see that third gate. Oh...I lied...I did take this one picture of a sign that lied. The water was actually 1.5 miles out, not 1 mile.
Finally, after a very long 1.5 miles...
Then a mere quarter mile down a trail:
Down by the water we met Ninja Tortise. This is his 4th time hiking the PCT and had done other thru-hikes every year since 2008 (except for 2011). How can he afford it? Like us, he is a retired veteren (Army). His advice for a successful thru-hike is to do 80% of your max each day. It makes for a more plesent and injury-free hike. We should be good, since this is what we are doing.
Anyway, after cameling up (drinking as much as we can) and refilling our bottles we found a nice site to set up our tent.
One bonus picture of us chilling out in the tent before changing our clothes. No, Tim isn't sleeping. He just closed his eyes so the flash doesn't blind him.