Day 7: the valley of the shadow of dehydradation

My phone said I woke up at 6:30, but it was wrong or I was dreaming…

I poked my head out of my tent and discovered sunrise was still far away. I nighthiked until dawn. Hiking with a headlamp in the morning when you know dawn is coming is just fine.

I had a liter and a half of water from the stock tank the day before. I figured I could find some more along the way.

The first tank was empty. Not even damp.

Then it started to rain. At first it was nearly pleasant, but devolved into a downpour. Clay stuck to my shoes and I began shivering. I couldn’t stop hiking in those temperatures. You stop, you freeze.

Every wash I passed was dry. I found a puddle in one and managed to get a liter but knew I would only drink it in an emergency. It was kind of… green.

I wanted to go 13 or 14 miles. My body was tired after the 20 miler. Plus, 13 miles would get me to the 100 mile mark!

Also near the 100 mile mark: twin tanks, the most disgusting water source I’ve ever seen. They were my last water source of the day and when I saw their brown soup, I wailed a little at the unfairness of it all. To be sopping wet but so thirsty you’re in pain… what is that about?

I met a section hiker who informed me about a water cache 6.7 miles ahead. It seemed an impossible distance. But I had no choice.

It continued to rain and I contributed some tears to the earth too as I trudged along a passage that felt unnecessarily winding and unlovely.

I quite literally limped to the water cache, sat down in front of the big brown box, and opened it up. Unending gallons. Squirt. And fruit roll ups. The sun physically and metaphorically came out.

I camped by a cactus next to the water cache. I’d hiked over 19 miles.

I took no photos that day because my phone was locked up out of the rain but here’s a cool cave from a couple days ago:

If someone had offered me a dollar I might have gone in.