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Monday, October 20, 2014

So this is how a camel feels.

Day 118 10/8
Mileage 22
Camped at mile 590.56

We woke up at five, planning to be on the trail at six, but we just couldn't do it. We tried again at six and were on trail an hour later. After forcing all the water we possibly could into our bodies, we set off, our packs laden with 25 pounds of water weight. The desert morning was just superb. It was shady, a little breezy, the perfect temperature for hiking. The gold of the morning sun made the oak leaves, already yellow from the changing season, seem to glow, as if they were making their own light. The terrain and vegetation reminded me very much of the Napa-Sonoma area. The ground was covered with oak leaves, there was yellow grass everywhere, and there was just a little bit of mist in the valleys. Strange that we're at similar elevations to the last few days and it's so much less desert-like. We were soon reminded that we were in the desert when it became a quabajillion degrees. Much of the latter half of the day was through completely shadeless burn areas with lurking patches of the infamous poodle dog bush. We decided to stop at the bottom of a long climb near the end of the day's hike to eat an early dinner and wait out the worst of the heat, as soon as we got to a nice shady patch. It wasn't until we were most of the way up that we found enough shade to stop. We lingered for almost 3 hours while the earth baked around us. This was good, because I have had to be judicious with my water intake, and I would have lost a lot of it hiking in the heat. At this point, I'm confident I'll have more than enough. Hiking after the heat had passed was great. Nice sunset, nice moonrise. Lots of windmills today. I can just barely hear their hum over the howl of the wind. More desert, then Tehachapi tomorrow!

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