Sunday, November 11
Camp elevation: 4570 ft
Man it was so cold last night! I fell asleep around 7. I woke up a few hours later around 9, chilly, hoping morning would come soon. It could not come soon enough. Definitely the coldest night on trail yet. Damp, cold air. We were in a low spot and an open field, too.
My alarm goes off at 5:30. I reset it to 6. Too cold. I eventually get up and pack as quickly as I can, keeping on my sleep clothes and waiting on breakfast and coffee. There’s frost everywhere – both inside on the walls of my rain fly and outside on tents and grass and trail. My hands and toes are freezing. I shake what frost I can off my rain fly and hit the trail all bundled up around 6:30, ahead of the others. Oklahoma is waiting for the sun to warm his tent before moving anywhere.
The frosty trail is flat, then up. Once out of the low spot, the air is immediately warmer. Dirt road walk. Sun. Yesss. Single track trail. Nice mountain views. I pull off at a nice spot to make my oatmeal breakfast and coffee, change into my hiking attire, and reorganise my haphazardly stuffed pack. The air is peaceful and still and the sunshine is warming. Good relaxation.
Back on trail. Day hikers. A few trailheads. A hunter. Water stop for 2L. Oklahoma comes by and we hike together, wondering where David is – ahead or behind? Must be behind. I eat a bar. We stop for more water and to dry out all the wet gear at Bear Spring in Casa Blanca canyon around 11. There’s still frost on my rain fly! I pick up a total 4L of water. David catches up. He’s slow going this morning, his stove won’t work, and his water filter might have frozen in the night. I eat jerky and make wraps with tortillas, Patagonia provisions salmon, mayo, Cholula, and olives – eating one now and saving one for later.
Once my tent and sleeping bag are dry, I hit the trail around noon ahead of the others. Uphill for 2 miles. Feeling good. I chat with a mountain biker who recommends Velvet Elvis pizza in Patagonia. On the downhill I break for water, sunscreen, and the other tortilla wrap. Oklahoma passes. A day hiker hikes by. David catches up and I get on trail behind him. Some of the downhill is steep and slidey. Eventually less steep.
Dirt road walking. A cow here and there. Occasional truck. Car campers and hunters set up at camps. I hike with David. Pretty hills covered with golden grass and juniper trees. Flatish downhill. More water than is listed in Guthook. We catch up to Oklahoma. I pick up a backup liter of water at Anaconda Spring, which I later dump. The detour is in 1/2 mile and we’re hoping to avoid it – it’s steeper and longer than the actual trail. And besides, the road can’t possibly be closed, there are lots of vehicles here.
At the reroute, we forge on ahead, sticking to the dirt road/trail. It’s definitely not closed. More camps. More water. Pretty fall colors. We pass on a potential campsite a half-mile before Temporal Gulch Trailhead. Once at the trailhead, we realize there’s nowhere to camp there, so we hike on for another 0.6 miles.
We find a rocky little hill among the hills where we can fit our three tents. Great views of hills and mountains from here, too. And it’s elevated out of the low spot, so temps will be relatively warmer at night. We’re expecting sub-freezing temps tonight again.
Thanksgiving-on-the-trail for dinner for me, tea with brown sugar, peanut butter m&m’s for dessert, a CBD chocolate, and natural calm. Temps already feel warmer than last night thankfully! I settle into my tent at dark around 6pm. I’m sooo happy it’s not terribly cold. It’s warm enough to read! Read, write, think about the last few miles into Patagonia and the Airbnb we have in town. Sleep…