DAY ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE
Today was the hottest day of the year so far in the desert. The high hit 117ºF. Luckily, by the time I started hiking this afternoon it has dropped to a mere 112ºF. I came prepared, though. I only planned on hiking about an hour and a half but I brought two quarts of Gatorade®, some water and a cooler filled with ice. I also used a trick to make sure the items stayed cold in my cooler. I filled it with ice, water and salt. The salt allows the water to get colder than freezing and since water keeps in constant contact with the bottles they stay colder. The Gatorade gets so cold, in fact, that that it's slushy when I pull it out of the cooler and put it in my pack. Perfect.
I start hiking toward the Art Smith Trail and am happy that once I get past this little section at the beginning I will be completely in the shade.
Once I get to the far side of the catch basin I see something sitting on a rock. It looks like a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) just sitting there kicking back.
Getting a better look, I notice it's dinner time. He's got a Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater)
clasped in his talons. That Chuck will make a fine meal. I hear they taste like chicken.
After he moves to the cliffs above to enjoy his meal, I head up the trail. With the heat, I move slowly and break often. Normally I don't like to stop on hikes but during extreme heat it's a good idea to go slow and not overheat.
At this point, some idiot thought it would be a good idea to paint the distance on a rock.
It's a good thing I brought my snake stick today and it has a sturdy metal point. Since the rock is soft it doesn't take much for me to scrape the numbers off.
There are also a number of brochures for a local church along the trail. I don't know if some person thought it was a good idea to spread the Word by dropping litter along this trail but I picked up seven of these pieces of garbage and recycled them at home. These people need to think of a better way of spending God's money. Feeding the poor comes to mind.
As unnecessary as a mileage marker is on the trail so is this sign. Hmm. I don't know if I'd be able to tell where the trail goes without it.
I get to where the Hopalong Cassidy Trail takes off and turn around here. There's no need to push it in this kind of heat and I've got to get home and have dinner.
Just like this guy.