Monument at Pines to Palms Highway (above)
I realized what the man meant around 2:00 am when I awoke to the sound of rain hitting my tarp. "Damn!" I thought. I was not prepared for rain and had done a crappy job setting up my tarp and sleeping area the night before. Now I was scrounging around in the dark organizing my gear and trying to position my sleeping bag to minimize the splashing water soaking the outside of my bag. One thing Indie and I learned in Oregon and Washington, was how crucial it was to keep our sleeping bags dry at all costs. Our survival depended on it.
Speaking of survival, when I awoke in the morning, I was extremely thirsty. Water was hard to come by during this stretch of trail. I found it interesting how the desert seemed to drain the water out of my body. It was clear to me that I had to drink a lot more to stay hydrated out here, despite the temperatures being somewhat cool. There were days in Washington where I only drank a liter of water the entire day. It was almost as if my body absorbed the moisture out of the air, or I drank in the tiny water droplets from the air while I hiked. I'm not really sure. All I knew was that now, I was very thirsty and I was drinking a lot more water.
When I looked at my water situation, I realized that I needed more water. This particular morning, there was plenty of water pouring out of the sky. "I've never drank rain water before," I thought. Since I was in the desert, and there is always the possibility that I'll never visit again, I thought, "What the hell, I'll just collect water off my tarp. It will be a new experience and maybe I'll learn something." Well, I learned that water was easy to come by. I set up my two pots under the spots on my tarp that seemed to be dripping the most, and collected three liters in no time. I was actually quite amazed how fast the water collected. The water definitely had a plastic, tarp taste, but all in all, it served me quite well the rest of the day.
The rain finally let up around 11:00am, I broke down camp and proceeded south. I took a short detour down the Pines to Palms highway and had a delicious hamburger at the Paradise Cafe. I probably hiked only about 10 miles this particular day, but again relished the fact that I was able to take my time, and not worry about mileage one bit.