Oct. 6, 2014 Dirt Road to Burgess Well 23 miles
5 am “Ca caw ca caw”
That’s Carrot’s wake up call to us. It’s also what we do to find each other. We are a flock of birds. Not so much songbirds or hummingbirds but rather great eagle hawk crows with hen-like dispositions.
I sit up fast to shock myself into believing I’m awake. My eyes are still closed and hidden inside my sleeping bag. I let the blood rush to my face. The dream I was having evaporates; something about a 100 foot wave. I can smell the sunlight. We gotta get out of here before it gets too hot.
I unzip my sleeping bag and voila! I’m ready. I’m the Annie Oakley of packing up.
Orbit and Carrot are still fine tuning their backpacks when I set off down the road. I plan on waiting for them at the next junction, hens gotta stick together you know?
Today the route follows a 4wd track to the crest of the Inyo Mountains. In 7 miles we’ll climb 4,000 feet to a ghost town!
Sometimes…no a lot of the time, I like to shoot myself in the foot and drink downstream from the herd and pee on the electric fence, ya know? I should have fixed dinner last night, I feel like I’m going to hit a wall soon. Bars bars more bars. Bar in, bar out. Bars that stick to the roof of your mouth. Bars that have magical strengthening powers. Bars that we call Cliff because they taste like the rocks and moss that cliffs are made of and people are gagging on Cliff bars at corporate office’s far far away. See we do have something in common.
Carrot and Orbit catch up and we eat bars before the big climb. Carrot likes Alt bars, Orbit likes sweet and salty Mojo bars, and I like Epic meat bars. (Hey! get your mind out of the gutter)
We begin the ascent on a gravelly road and I can’t get a good push off. I feel like a walrus pulling a plow. Like a frat boy spring breaker turned JMTer.
I check on Carrot; she’s over heating but using all possible shady spots to cool off and says she’ll be ok. So I continue to slog; one of those death marches where you put your head down and think about how you’d rather curl into a ball under some shade somewhere and then… I step over a tarantula…phew! that was a close one little dude! The heat is hot. My brain is curdled meat and electricity that slowly pumps blood and thoughts. And they just kind of hover there for awhile. There there.
Once upon a time this road was used for turn of the century mining because there is more rusty junk and No Trespassing signs.
At 9,000 feet I reach a ridge and see Jess hiding in the shade of a bunker. Yes a bunker. On the other side of the ridge lies Cerro Gordo; a living ghost town looking down on the Owen’s Valley.
I can see a couple vehicles. Should we ask for some water? I’m down to 2.5 liters. So either we risk getting shot or push for Lone Pine tonight. Lone Pine is still 22.5 miles away and I’m exhausted. Orbit and I eat bars and wait for Carrot.
Carrot’s low on water too and I don’t even have time to ask her what she wants to do before she’s heading down to Cerro Gordo.
“But what about the No Trespassing signs!” I holler.
I slump back against the bunker and turn to Orbit, “What happens if she gets shot?”
“We could sell her Gossamer gear pack on ebay, it’s what the cool kids want.”
“We could eat her bars.”
And so, we wait.