Day 30 – May 3, 2022
Mile 462.8 to 485.8 (Lake Hughes Road)
23.0 trail miles | 23.6 tracked miles | 2,808 ft elevation gain | 78.4 F / 26 °C
Thru-hiking is roller coaster, literally and figuratively.
While we were tired and demotivated yesterday evening after a boring and painful road walk, I woke up in excellent spirits this morning. I was energized, both physically and mentally. I credit yesterday’s indulgence at the Mexican restaurant in Agua Dulce!
I took the lead and was soon far ahead of Christie, Joe, and Michael. I felt strong and confident, especially with my new shoes.
The scenery was lush and green at first glance, despite the fact that the few potential water sources near the trail were all dry. The sight of Lake Elizabeth in the distance was tantalizing.
I hiked 16 miles before noon and arrived at our planned lunch spot—a fire station with a water faucet on San Francisquito Canyon Road—well before the rest of the herd.
The fire station is a critical resource on this long, dry stretch of trail. Unlike water caches or random faucets, it is obviously a reliable source.
Several hikers were taking a break and enjoying the shade when I arrived. Christie, Joe, and Michael joined me eventually. We enjoyed a brief siesta during the day’s hottest hours, then resumed hiking.
The afternoon stretch featured ample desert vegetation and a surprising green coat. There is water somewhere in the ground—just not for us lowly hikers.
We set up camp near a dirt road, in the vicinity of Lake Hughes Road, where a trail angel had kindly left several water jugs.
Fortunately, the water situation should look up tomorrow, as we will pass a couple springs, as well as a few cisterns (though one of the cisterns is said to be heavily polluted.) I look forward to shorter water carries!