Last night, I had one of the best night’s sleep I have had so far. Combine that with chilly air and it was difficult to convince myself to abandon the warmth of my toasty sleeping bag. I managed to get moving and left camp at 6:15. The area that I hiked through today seemed more like a desert than most other sections of the desert trail so far. It was wide open and barren with only Joshua trees here and there to provide occasional shade.
It was, until late afternoon, a rather boring day. I hiked along making good time only seeing people when they were stopped resting in the shade. Just after noon, I found that I had a signal and found a nice shady spot behind some rocks and called Dad to wish him a belated happy father’s day.
I stopped at a water cache, the last water source of that day to fill up. As I was filling up my containers, another guy started filling up as well. We got to talking and he noticed that I had my ice axe already. I told him that I did not know how to use it yet and planned on finding a slope where I could practice. He demonstrated some techniques for using an ice axe in emergencies. I asked if he was planning on going into town at the next major road crossing. He said that he and two others priced it out and figured they would to hitch into town, rent a car, and drive into Vegas for the three off days. That sounded like a lot of fun to me.
As I was about to leave, one of the other guys in his group came over and asked if I was interested in a solar umbrella. I said no thanks, I already had one. As I looked up, I recognized the guy and I asked if he had hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2017. He said yes and then he said Matthew! and I said Blitz! We embraced. I first met Blitz the day he got his trail name on the second day of my AT expedition. That was the last time I saw him until day 82 on the trail, where I ran into him again in Vermont. I saw him several more times on the AT. It was so crazy to run into him out here in the middle of the desert.
I hiked 3 more hours after the water cache and arrived at camp at 7:30 pm. As I was finishing up dinner, another hiker I had met earlier set up camp. His trail name is Nighto. Nighto is from Japan and I had shared a tent site with him on the second day of this expedition. He was there with John and I the night it snowed in Mount Laguna.