As I left camp in the morning there were 2 deer just 20 feet away, munching. They eyed me up but weren't scared, never breaking eye contact while taking another munch from a bush.
There were lots of squirrels today too. They liked to scamper around the trees blown down over the trail which I had to crawl under or climb over. I do so carefully, making sure my pack doesn't catch on branches and that I don't step down and roll an ankle.
The desert squirrels seem slower than forest squirrels… if those are even types of squirrels. Normally they scamper quickly and then stop to check for danger, then bolt forward again and stop to check. They're either running or standing still. But these squirrels in the desert just… walk. It's weird - they walk slowly, one foot at a time. They're not creeping trying to be stealth, they're just walking… casually. Sniffing the ground as they go looking for food, climbing around trees and bushes without really jumping. Their tails are super thin and wispy too since they don't need it so much to stay warm.
I don't see anyone while hiking for most of the day, but when I reach the next spring many people are gathered there again. You can tell who ran out of water - when they arrive they beeline straight to the spring with their water bladder ready to take a drink even before setting their bag down.
I passed 600 miles, and camped on top of a ridge that had some huge boulders that were neat to climb on. It was windy, and although I set up to cowboy camp the wind gusts were blowing sand all over me. So as it was getting dark I set up my tent, as low of a pitch as I could to keep the wind out. There were just enough big rocks around my spot to hold down my pegs, brought there by someone before me doing the same.
Total trail mileage: 612 miles / 984.7 km