You may recall Cari Tucker, aka Sandals, whose plans for a 2007 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike were interrupted last year by the small detail of a broken ankle. She must’ve done everything right, healingwise, because she made it to Warner Springs (a touch over 100 miles) without major ankle pain. Sounds like she’s having fun so far. From Day 1.
Highlight of the day: I stopped to rest and was stretched out on rock in the sun, half asleep. I heard a whirring sound and opened my eyes to a curious hummingbird. He dipped as if to say hello and casually buzzed off. Some people might say that he was attracted by my fuchsia pink wind jacket (probably looked like the mother lode of grocery stores). I’m convinced, however, that he was my good omen token. My very first backpack in desert was to the Sierra Quemada in Big Bend with Outward Bound. People familiar with the Outward Bound program will know that at one point, each person is left alone in the wilderness for 1 to 3 days. The purpose of the solo is to allow a time of introspection. Our solos were from early morning to sunset the following afternoon. I was left in an arroyo with a trickle of water and my sleeping bag. During my solo, a hummingbird kept me company for several lonely hours of second day, disappearing and reappearing multiple times. I had a lot to learn about myself on that trip and have always thought of it as something very special. So to me, my first day hummingbird could not possibly be JUST my fuchsia jacket.
So there was the good-luck hummer; a day later it was the bad-luck frogs:
Three hours into camp and two gear failures already. CRITICAL GEAR!! First, my tent pole broke, leaving me with what is effectively a bivy with a foot end of mosquito netting instead of waterproofing. Next, my camelback with inline filter cracked off at the outflow hose- unsalvageable. The worst part is that I know that I did it to myself. You see, I have incurred the wrath of the endangered Arroyo toad. Here I am, camped at Boulder Oaks…which is currently closed due to the breeding season of the above species. I didn’t know that when I set up camp- and now it’s too late to move (since I fear night hiking on a strange trail MORE than I fear the wrath of the Arroyo toad.) Obviously, the toads resent my intrusion on their courtship rituals and have retaliated by cursing my gear. If anything else breaks, I may change my mind and leave tonight while I still can. Hopefully, they feel adequate retribution has been made.
Speaking of critters, Out of Order had an excellent cat tale.