Ok, I don't think we'll be finding Easter Eggs on the trails. We stink, we walk funny, we dress in goofy clothes, and we will eat anything - we've become hiker trash.
Today has been rough. The first few days are behind us and we are taking a break at mile 91 as I write. We will be crossing our 100 mile marker! However, the desert sun is beating down and as another hiker said, "there are bodies under all the trees." We are seeking out shade. It's hot, water is short and the tallest tree is close to 5 ft tall. Every day I am drawing on my experiences with Double H and Philmont to help make things easier.
Day 1 I was extremely excited to be on the trail, maybe even nervous with anticipation. Our trail angel, Girl Scout dropped us off at the border, we snapped some pictures and we were on our way through the desert, putting distance between ourselves and the border patrol.
Day 2 brought sore muscles, but new friends and I was able to dole out backpacking tips. We were playing leap frog with a Belgian guy and a German all day and finally we decided to hike together. We hiked over 20 miles to our next camp and went from the desert to Ponderosa pines and the scenic town of Mt. Laguna.
Day 3 was more incredible scenery and the landscape opened up to vistas overlooking the enormous Noble Canyon. A long day of walking on trail with solid rock on one side and a 2000 foot drop on the other side.
Day 4 was a long one, but was a blast: fighter jets, bridge beers, camping in the desert. During lunch we found water at a fire tank. If there hadn't been water there we would have been in trouble - no other water for 30+ miles. Jonathan had/has terrible foot problems so I hiked ahead (thinking if he needed help I'd find more water and closer road access) while he laid up with hiker friends. Half an hour later I hear yelling behind me. I turned as fast as I could to see Jonathan bolting down this mountain ridge trail, flying by other hikers. He's yelling for me to take video. After he passes me, I cinch down my straps and run after him. That evening we hiked to Scissors Crossing to find beer stored in a cooler, left by a trail angel. Perfect.
Side note: we had to leave the bridge hangout - lots of people were showing up at the bridge and we needed sleep. From our hillside campsite we saw bikers and some guy with a search light on his car drive by the bridge so I think we made an excellent call when we moved on.
I feel like all my experience from working at Double H has made me more prepared for the desert, mentally. And I have been extremely lucky, very few blisters. Been trying to get some good pictures and teach the guys some skillz! As a group we have taken on our trail personalities, are growing accustomed to walking all day, taking notice of our surroundings and getting past our aches and pains.
-Dan (no drawings yet, just pics!)