First Day on the Trail
It's been a good day. 22 miles on April 22nd. We got "lost" many times today, but it didn't matter. The country is so open that we just broke out the topo map, picked a landmark that we knew was on route, and headed towards it cross-country across the desert. We made our own trail today.
The desert is in full bloom. Mexican Poppy flowers and blooming Barrel, Prickly Pear, Cholla and Ocotillo cactus everywhere. And sweeping vistas across vast flat open spaces dominate the landscape. The beauty here is stark and spacious, punctuated by colorful and delicate flowers. This beauty can only be appreciated with adequate hydration, however. One miscalculation in the location of our next water source, and we experience the harshness that is also part of this land. Out of these desert flats all around us rise steep, isolated mountain ranges - mountain islands in a sea of desert. We are camped at the base of one of these islands tonight - the Florida Mountains. Tomorrow we are headed up and over these steep mountains with no trail. We're gonna get an early start so we can clear the crest of the range in the cool morning and be on the flats to the east of the mountains by the heat of the day.
Today was hot. I drank 7 liters of water. By mile 20, Eric and I were feeling worked and sunburnt with a few blisters starting to form on our feet. As we were nearing a house by a road, a woman out in the yard waved. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could sit under the Pecan trees in her yard for shade as we ate dinner. Glenna invited us under the porch. We sat down on cool stone tiles feeling like we were in heaven. We lingered for a couple hours in this oasis before moving on to our present camp.
It's 16 miles to the next relatively certain water source tomorrow. And the Florida Mountains are between us and this water. Shouldn't be a problem. I'm so looking forward to my first night out under the stars with a full moon. I feel worked but so alive. We saw Jackrabbits, mule deer and a few lizards today. No rattlesnakes yet. Tomorrow promises adventure as we head out into the undiscovered country.