March 22, 2021
We left camp around 6:30am and covered 6.8 miles by 9:30am. Not terrible. We even found a water cache at Freeman Road, which was unexpected and totally awesome! We were afraid we might have to hitch into town to get water today. It’s a very long, dry stretch. The wind was really strong and cold but the terrain is so nice and clear, mostly flat, with almost no scree at all (which is always a blessing). Such a nice change from yesterday, which was a bitch.
We had almost 15 miles of this lovely, scree-free trail and made really good time. By early afternoon it was back to scree, because of course it was. We took a shoe-off break every 4-5 miles and water was scarce. We had to go .4 off trail for water toward the end of the day, which kind of sucks but we knew when we started this hike that we’d have to go off-trail for water more often than on the PCT or AT. It is the desert, after all. Ghosthiker says we should count all miles hiked, not just strictly AZT miles. I agree. The tank we got our water from was set in the ground and pretty gross, but tasted great after filtering.
We hiked 20.9 miles today; 21.7 if you include the extra trek off-trail for water. Woohoo! Definitely a good high-mile day for us, but we kind of both agreed that 18 miles a day is our healthy limit. We were definitely feeling it when we threw down our packs for the day. Surprisingly, we found tons of hikers camped near the water source. It shouldn’t have been surprising since this is a really dry stretch of trail, but we haven’t seen any other hikers since San Manuel except one guy named Valhalla who passed us about a mile back. Nice guy, first thru-hiker we’d seen in days. So, yeah, coming up on a dozen or more hikers all camped in the same area was strange.
Sam and Joe Dirt are here, and a trio of section hikers who were really nice. Not sure who the others are because they’re all in their tents. It’s a nice, wide, dispersed camping area and the water tank is up a hill. The sun had already gone below the mountains by the time I was filtering my water and it is so stinking cold! I made dinner quickly and ate in my tent.