This was the trail I chose, trail head marker pictured above. I figured it wouldn't be too strenuous.
Of course I'd never hiked through the actual desert before.
Of course I didn't really bring enough water.
Of course I hiked out too fast.
Of course I got a little lost.
But I didn't really mind any of those things.
I got out without even seeing any mountains lions, which was a win for me. Plus I got to chill at an abandoned mine, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Everything started out amazingly, really. I had cell coverage, so I was texting with Michael and my friend, Summer, and sending them pictures of my excursion. There's my shadow in the afternoon sun.
I signed the trail log and was feeling pretty good.
About forty-five minutes in I sent this pic to Summer and Michael:
Yeah I didn't wear sunscreen either. I couldn't find ours (we hadn't really needed it... it's January for crying out loud...), and I thought I could buy some at the visitor's center, but they had none, only expensive floppy hats. So I'm a little flushed.
Okay I'm baking.
But I'm feeling pretty epic, and remembering all those cartoons I watched as a kid with people seeing mirages in the desert, and I'm conserving my water.
(I did bring an extra container of water that I left in the car, figuring I'd use my whole canteen on the hike - this was a wise decision.)
This was the wrong decision.
I hiked about fifteen minutes farther down the trail before deciding I had probably missed the mine back at the wagon wheel.
Plus I saw this, which was a little disconcerting:
I turned around, saw how I'd made my mistake, and took a break at the mining area's General Store.
|This is one of the mine shafts.|
|Entrance to the General Store.|
|Leftover debris - sardine cans, nuts and bolts, broken glass...|
|A rusty old bathtub...|
|And me. I sat on a board between two rocks and had some of my water. I sent this picture to Michael and my mom who both thought something was wrong. Nothing was wrong. I was actually really happy in this picture.|
The hike out, as always, went much faster than the hike in. I signed out of the log book, noting that I had made the trek in almost an hour less than the next fastest hiker. Maybe I overdid it, but it felt good to be the fastest at something.
I blasted Imagine Dragons all the way back to the campground and gnoshed on an oatmeal raisin Cliff Bar. It tasted like victory.