It remained cold all night and well into the morning, so I found it very difficult to peel myself out of the warm sleeping bag, even well after it was uncomfortable to do so.
There was an almost empty 2.5 gal bottle of water near the trail junction to the cache, so I emptied it into my water bag, then set out with the empty to the cache to toss it in the cage-of-empties, select a full replacement, and haul it back to the trail, signing the register in the box beneath to record the history of my having brought it back. I then made sure my water bag was absolutely full as I would not pass water again for another 24 hours. For various reasons, it was more than another hour before I was packed up and ready to go. I don’t think I started hiking until 11am.
It was another warm sunny day and the winds had dropped off somewhat, or at least couldn’t reach the trail to any great extent. The trail mostly just continued working its way along the side of the hills which bounded the Anza Borrego Desert State Wilderness, keeping the highway in view in the valley below 90% of the time. The view was impressive but hardly changed all day. And there weren’t any landmarks to speak of either, so I ended up stopping for snacks and lunch in random places where there was a good rock or a small bit of shade.
I stopped for the day right at the tail end of civil twilight, pitching my tent in a cool, wind-protected wash tucked in a little nook shooting off from the trail. I could have kept walking in the dark, but I was already within 20 miles of where I wanted to be the next day, and this hidden away campsite would keep the entire valley below from being able to see my headlamp.
And if you want to get into the water logistics you have to think about in the desert, it also happened to be the last tentsite marked on Guthook for another four miles, where the next one was on the other side of the next water source. Saving the water collection for the morning meant I wouldn’t be cutting into the water I collected to make this night’s dinner and the following morning’s breakfast, which meant I wouldn’t need to make any water detours the following day. The only way to get in more miles without concern about tomorrow’s water would have been to camp directly under the highway underpass, and who wants to do that?
Anyway, with the nightly routine out of the way, I turned in relatively early compared to the previous few nights.
Total distance: 12 miles