|Blooming century plant!|
At the Swarthout road cache, we didn't need much water, so we pressed on, leapfrogging a happy couple we dubbed The Brits. Finding a protected campsite at the 12 mile mark, we set up camp, soon joined by a couple of German girls (whom we never saw again. The trail is like that).
|Camp, night one! Successful pitches after 12 miles.|
|Morning. The Brits tried to explain to us these were clouds, when it was really fog.|
On the way to the next water source, a spring at Guffy Campground, we came upon a mansplainer. Sadly, trail life is not exempt from this species. "I was going to camp where you did," he pontificated, "but I decided to go farther." He proceeded to tell us how to hike, and how to approach snow in the mountains. At Guffy, he showed up to tell us that there was snow on the way to the spring. (Spoiler alert: we never saw him again either).
Passing by a closed ski resort, we noticed the weather getting colder, with some ominous clouds in the distance. After 20 miles, we came to a closed campground and decided to park it there for the night, due to the convenience of bear boxes. We were all alone as the wind howled above us. Surely it would warm up, I thought as I huddled in my tent. Previous year hikers had moaned about the heat, and how they had to night hike to survive.
An unwelcome noise awoke me. Not a bear, but the sound of...rain. Flash and I are used to rain, and so we packed up and headed out, bound for Highway 2. The rain and fog made it clear that this was not a day to summit Baden Powell. Up there, it would surely be a whiteout. Our only choice was walking Highway 2.
There are moments in everyone's life when they wonder just why they have signed on willingly for something, and this was one of them. The rain and wind buffeted us without mercy, and I could feel myself getting more wet and frozen by the minute. To my horror I realized my rain jacket had failed, and I was completely soaked. Miserably we fought hypothermia, walking the road until a beacon of hope shone forth in the form of....an outhouse.
We ran for it, and fell inside. Away from the rain, there was a superficial feeling of warmth. I struggled to open a bag of crackers. I had sunk to a new low: eating in an outhouse. Would this rain ever stop? Would I ever be warm again? Could this really be Southern California? Huddled in a toilet, I pondered my life choices.
To be continued...
|I was still smiling at this point. That did not last. Photo by Flash.|