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Day 19

Day 19

Distance hiked today: 12.8 miles / 20.6 km.

The downside of camping at a wind farm is that it's windy. We weren't actually near the wind turbines, just the office building. But gusts of wind blew into my tent overnight, coated my sleeping bag and gear with a thin layer of sand, and blew into my face.

The upside of camping at a wind farm is the trail magic. I woke up first, and sat in their rough hiker gazebo for a while. It's a nice shady respite from the hot desert if the wind farm offices aren't open, but when they are open they let hikers into their shop. A friendly man led me through a hallway past the offices into an open garage-like area where hikers can hang out and get coffee from their Keurig machine in our cooking pots. The fridge has a list of ice cream and snacks for sale, with a bucket to put your money into. They carry on with their work while hikers enjoy the air conditioning and shelter - this office is actually for scientists that monitor the desert tortoise population in the wind farm area.

We left reluctantly in the late morning, taking a soda to enjoy later. We hiked through open dry landscape. I saw my first rattlesnake for this hike - I didn't even see it until the hiker behind me pointed it out. It didn't rattle, just slithered onto a rock and watched us.

We counted the miles we night hiked yesterday as a bonus for today, and did a shorter day. We stopped for lunch at a small river but there was no shade for a siesta, so we carried on. That was a mistake - as soon as we left the river the heat intensified but there was no shade to be found. We hiked in a row, telling riddles, and playing word games to pass the time. We came across good shade finally and sat for maybe an hour before continuing to our camp at the bottom of Mission Creek. On the way, we passed the most spectacular view so far on trail. I'm not sure what it was that made it better than all the other great views, but it seemed so vast and majestic, with Mount San Jacinto in the background which we summited only 2 days ago, already a distant mountain.

Total trail mileage: 226.2 miles / 364 km.

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