Distance hiked today: 24.4 miles / 39.3 km.
I finished the aqueduct road walk this morning and headed into a wind farm. Except there was no wind… the turbines weren't turning, and that meant it was extremely hot. I had tried to apply a new Dexcom sensor this morning after my old one fell off, but even after using an alcohol wipe I was just too dirty and it didn't stick. That was my last one, so I have to rely on finger pricks for the next couple days until I reach town.
After trudging uphill, stopping in thin lines of shade from the wind turbines or a joshua tree, I reached a creek with a large tree providing shade. I settled in for a long siesta even though it was only 11am. But a couple hours later the sky was cloudy, providing some respite from the sun and making it doable to hike. So we set off again at 1pm, and of course as soon as I was ready to go the clouds disappeared and the sun was full strength again. But I was committed, and slowly made my way uphill while thinking "this was a mistake".
Luckily the clouds came back a bit later, and it was a never ending uphill for 8+ miles. Finally at the top of the mountain there was a trail magic oasis, with a water cache, fruit and other snacks, chairs and umbrellas. A welcome rest stop, and the trail angel named Dan was there, telling stories and visiting with hikers. He's been maintaining the cache for 17 years, helping hikers get through this long dry stretch because he kept finding people dehydrated at the top of the mountain.
We finished the day with 9 more miles, and I watched the lunar eclipse as I walked. The turbines were spinning fast now, whooshing like airplanes, and I had to brace myself against the wind. As it got dark all I could see were the red lights on top of them, a sea of blinking red eyes.
Night miles seem to take longer because you can only see the spot of light in front of you. I finally reached a dirt road and some tent sites around 9:30pm, and quickly set up my cowboy camp. It was windy, but it's not so bad without a tent to blow around in the wind. It was an over 15 hour day from start to finish, on top of a 19 hour day yesterday.
Total trail mileage: 558 miles / 897.8 km