Turd in the Punchbowl: A Dose of Civilization on Trail, Mile 77-369
Wow, what a title, but more on that later.
It’s been quite some time since I have updated you from the trail. My last post was from Julian and honestly not that much has happened since then. I have found myself in a tramily (as much as I kind of cringe at the word it is true) that elects to cowboy camp every night. So far we have cowboyed 10 straight nights. Our crew has grown super close, and it seems more like we have known each other for years, not just two weeks.
Our crew has learned to adapt to the desert. The desert is all about tempo and timing. Wake up early to beat the heat, walk fast enough to make it to water, siesta, crush a few more miles. If you break camp late or hike too slow then you’re bound to run into some hot temps. The vast majority of our miles are logged before noon and we mop up our daily totals after the 3 o’clock hour. This schedule leads to some awesome sights and more so sounds. Personally my favorite part of hiking, besides the people, is walking through the desert at dawn. Watching the night give way to the early morning sun has continuously taken my breath away.
Playing the Long Game
One of the trickiest parts is managing mileage. As we get more experienced in planning and resupplying, we must also manage our bodies. So far we have only had a few minor issues but want to keep it that way. Unfortunately, there is no handbook for the matter and we are eventually going to hit some speed bumps, but that’s tomorrow’s problem.
OK, that’s enough of the updates, it’s time to address the vulgarity of the title.
“It was not just neglect, it was active disrespect.”
Your Highness and I spent our three-week trail anniversary with a special treat: Deep Creek Hot Springs. However, this trip would not be one of great fortune as we were expecting. The hot spring itself was fine and nothing noteworthy there. The ailment was in the surrounding area around the springs. The area around the springs was absolutely trashed. There was trash, coolers, broken glass, and countless other items left behind. Worse yet, the wildlife had grown accustomed to the trash being left behind. This was maddening to see. We had hiked through 300 miles of stunning terrain only to find one of its gems soiled.
Brief pause to mention that thru-hikers are not perfect, and I am in no way saying so. But this was not the action of thru-hikers. I wish I could put it into words how awful the site was. This was not just neglect, this was active disrespect for that land that we were all entrusted to care for.
This sight was not something any of us were expecting and pretty much soured us on the whole experience and we soon found ourselves hiking on and camping further down the Mojave River.
Onward and Upward
Overall, trail has been fantastic, but one experience has unexpectedly thrown me for a loop. I’ll get over this all, just need to bag a few peaks and log a few more miles. As for tonight, I’m making lasagna for my newly found friends and it’s up to Baden Powell after.
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